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Michael Brantley’s plate discipline never gets old

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Hitters should take lessons by watching him. Here are some exciting stats about how Brantley masters the strike zone.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Brantley is a pure, world-class hitter. Despite being 33 years old and having already played 12 seasons in the Majors, he doesn’t get old. Without making much noise, he remains as one of the most productive outfielders in baseball at the same time he’s one of the most selective hitters in the sport.

The Washington native owns a .312/.374/.509 slash line in 171 games since joining the Astros back in December 2018, but all of this is due to his great plate discipline that’s still among the best after his 10 campaigns with the Cleveland Indians and one and a half years in H-Town.

This year, he’s only striking out 14.7% of the time while taking walks almost at the same rate (10.5%). There are two stats I find really interesting about the 2020 Brantley: according to Baseball Savant, his chase percentage (18.3) is welllll below the MLB average (28.2) and he rarely goes after the first pitch: 17.9 (MLB average is 28.3%).

That latter stat —besides the fact he sees 4.11 pitches per appearance, most by an Astro in 2020— has allowed him to get into favorable 2-0 (21.9%) and 3-0 counts (8.3%) more often than most MLB hitters this year.

His SwStr% according to FanGraphs sits at 5.6%, which means he’s swinging and missing around five times every 100 pitches seen. Among men with at least 90 plate appearances, that’s the 10th best mark in the Majors. Besides, his whiff% is 16.7, which is well below the MLB average (24.4%) despite being higher than in recent years for him.

Those numbers are unbelievable, but there’s even MORE!

Brantley is super selective at the plate. He only swings at 21.3% of pitches out of the strike zone, 10th-best mark in the MLB (90 PA minimum). And as if it wasn’t enough, he only swings in general at 38% of the pitches he sees, 21st-lowest number in the bigs and second-lowest in the Astros (just behind Alex Bregman’s 35.3%).

Also, Michael rarely misses. When he swings at deliveries in the zone, he makes contact 95.0% of the time, that number lowers to 85.3% to any kind of pitch, but it’s still a stellar number.

Wanna see an AMAZING statistic? Read below.

Out of 63 players with at least 1300 plate appearances since 2018, Michael Brantley ranks first in strikeouts: 140 (second on the list is Yuli Gurriel, with 147). That’s one punchout every 9.7 PA!!!

The veteran outfielder is in the last season of a 2-year, $32MM deal. Should the Astros extend him? Tell us in the following poll...

Poll

Should the Astros keep Michael Brantley?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes! A one-year deal.
    (54 votes)
  • 72%
    Multi-year deal, please.
    (149 votes)
  • 0%
    No, let him go.
    (2 votes)
205 votes total Vote Now