Michael Brantley is returning to the Houston Astros

Jun 24, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley (23) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley (23) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

The doc is in! According to Ken Rosenthal, Michael Brantley is returning to the Houston Astros, signing a one year deal worth $12 million. He also adds $4M incentives. This is great news for the Astros!

In his four-year tenure with the Astros, he has gone to the ALCS four years in a row, reached the World Series three times, and eventually won the World Series for the first time in his fourteen-year career. This would be Brantley’s third time resigning with the Houston Astros. In 2018, Brantley signed a two-year contract worth $32 million, when his contract ended in 2020, he then returned on another two-year deal worth $32 million.

Brantley brings a lot of veteran presence and is one of the most prolific hitters in the game. In my opinion, if you are a left-handed hitter you should pay close attention to his approach. Cool, calm, and collected as I like to describe it.

The 35-year old veteran dealt with a right shoulder injury and later had season ending surgery that put him out the second half of the season. In 2022, Brantley played 64 games, but still had quality offensive numbers. He slashed .288/.370/.460, smashing five home runs, collecting 26 RBIs, and finished with a high OPS of .785.

That was the first time Brantley had a batting average under .300 in his Astros career. He has been very consistent for the past four years with the organization as he has hit .306/.368/.464, with a OPS of .832, collecting 446 hits, 40 home runs, and 185 RBIs in his 1609 plate appearances. Another great offensive stat he brings is a WRC+ at 130 and a WOBA of .356.

This was the right move for the Houston Astros! 

With this acquisition, the Astros lineup becomes dominant and very dangerous to pitch too. Also, we can see Michael Brantley being placed as the primary designated hitter in 2023. Dusty Baker mentioned earlier at the Winter Meetings that he wants Yordan Alvarez to command left field 65-70% of the time. When Yordan needs a breather, you can place him as the designated hitter and have Michael Brantley play his normal position in left field.

The Houston Astros are having a great off-season so far! They improved and filled in the gap at first base with the signing of Jose Abreu. They brought back a key piece in their bullpen with Rafael Montero. Now, they’re bringing back one of the best contact hitters in the game with Michael Brantley.

Here comes the interesting part of the signing: Do you place Michael Brantley back in the two spot of the batting order? Pena looked very comfortable batting behind Altuve at the ending of the 2022 season, which is Uncle Mike’s original hitting spot in the order. However, Jeremy Pena did have a great postseason and collected some hardware becoming the ALCS and World Series MVP.

When Brantley is healthy, he’s easily a .300 hitter, and what makes him so difficult to pitch to is that he can take the ball to every part of the field, with great situational hitting, and an outstanding eye at the plate. He will be looking to bounce back this upcoming season to help the Astros go back to the World Series, and eventually strive to win back to back World Series titles.

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Let me know your thoughts on the Michael Brantley signing and where would you place him in the lineup.