The club looks like a title contender, and the 34-year-old deserves a massive chunk of the credit.
Brantley might not be the best hitter on this Astros team, but he is certainly one of the most important.
He’s also wildly underrated by MLB fans and the media.
That should change.
Today, we’re going to give him the respect he deserves.
At the end of the day, he is one of the most crucial players for Houston’s title hopes this season, and fans should start to take notice of that.
Evaluating His Overall Numbers In 2021
To kick things off, let’s appreciate Brantley’s overall numbers.
It’s easy to make any player look good when you chop their season up one way or another, but with Brantley, that’s not necessary.
He’s currently batting a league-best .332, reaching base at a .385 clip, and slugging .480.
He has a 139 OPS+, 144 wRC+, and 3.3 WAR.
Across the board, those marks are extremely impressive.
They aren’t quite MVP-caliber numbers, but they’re pretty close.
I love watching Michael Brantley hit.
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) August 5, 2021
By almost every measure, this is shaping up to be the best season of Brantley’s career.
As Good As He Has Been All Season, He Has Been Even Better Lately
Brantley is on a ridiculous tear lately.
He seems to enjoy the summer months, because his production has gone through the roof since the beginning of June.
He’s slashing .349/.413/.500 over 49 games since June began.
He has homered four times, doubled 14 times, and tripled once during that span.
Michael Brantley homers off Scherzer to give the Astros an early lead
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 5, 2021
It’s no coincidence that the Astros are a whopping 31-18 during his ridiculous 49-game stretch.
Brantley is simply a menace at putting the ball in play, and it often results in great outcomes.
He has 33 multi-hit games this season (which ranks 10th in the AL), and a good chunk of them have come during his torrid summer stretch.
When Brantley Goes, The Astros Go
There is a stark difference between Brantley’s production in wins and his production in losses.
In wins, he’s batting an absurd .384 with a .990 OPS.
In losses, he’s batting just .241 with a .655 OPS.
He has 37 extra-base-hits on the year, and 28 of them have come in wins.
It certainly seems like this guy is the straw that stirs the drink for Houston.
That will be an interesting storyline to monitor as the season goes on.
When the playoffs eventually roll around, the Astros are going to need to count on their veteran stars to get the job done.
Needless to say, Brantley is going to be one of those guys.
He has a lot of playoff experience under his belt, and for the most part, he has a solid postseason track record.
The former seventh-round pick has a career .286 batting average and .724 OPS over 38 playoff games.
He is still chasing the first World Series title of his career.
For most players, the idea of capturing that elusive World Series ring is the greatest possible motivation.
It’s probably safe to assume that Brantley feels the same way.
October will be here before we know it.