Given that veteran outfielder Michael Brantley had been nothing but a monumental health mess the previous two years, it was no great surprise when the veteran hitter found himself in the late-round territory when it came to spring drafts prior to the start of 2018. While this publication was running out of patience with Brantley and all the missed games like everyone else, we also made it a point to say that the guy remained one of the very best pure hitters in baseball. Continuing on that point, we also made sure to point out if Brantley could ever just scratch out 500 at-bats again, he could prove to be a tremendous value play. So whether Brantley was praying to the health gods or not, all the planets aligned on that front as he amassed 631 at-bats in what turned out to be a nice comeback season in 2018. Capable of hitting for average in his sleep, Brantley predictably batted .309 and still showed himself to be a power/speed asset by cracking 17 home runs and stealing 12 bases. When you add in the 89 runs scored and 76 RBI, it was an all-around impressive haul of numbers by Brantley. With all that being said, however, we still need to be cautious regarding an investment in Brantley this spring since he still carries an injury-prone label which will only grow at the age of 32. On the flip side, Brantley is almost a lock for another .300 average and a near 15/15 output in homers/steals which means if you can snag him at an OF 3 price, be sure to do so. Finally, Brantley signing a two-year deal as a free agent with the Houston Astros places him in a slightly better offensive ballpark which lends some more optimism to the overall picture.
2019 PROJECTION: .310 15 HR 74 RBI 83 R 11 SB