Former Cleveland Guardians and Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley recently announced his retirement from baseball.
After spending 10 years in Cleveland and five in Houston, one of the most underrated hitters of our generation hangs up his cleats and calls it a career.
He isn’t flashy or super famous, but Brantley is one of the best hitters the game has seen in the last decade.
Hitting is not just about walks and home runs.
When it comes to true bat-to-ball skills, plate discipline and coverage, and barrel control, few hitters stand up to Brantley.
He was a master of his craft and very few people are aware of that.
MLB Network recently dedicated a segment to him, illustrating his uncanny ability to discern balls from strikes.
Take a look at this graphic (also shared by MLB analyst Ryan Spaeder):
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 8, 2024
You can take a closer look here:
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) January 5, 2024
If there was a pitch that looked like a strike, Brantley would swing, as he should: if he doesn’t swing, the odds of getting a called strike are high.
If the pitch was even slightly out of the strike zone, he would take it: he knew that he would get a ball to the count and that swinging at bad pitches often results in bad contact.
It took a perfectly executed pitch to get him looking.
210 strikeouts looking over a 15-year career is an incredibly low number, one associated with elite hitters.