Youngster Michael Brantley has appeared on some radars, but mostly he’s been like a stealth bomber — half a blip here, no blips there.
Word out of Cleveland now is that Brantley is the lead dog for the Indians’ left field spot.
Playing time, friends, is what every player needs to succeed. Ok, they need talent and focus, too, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. Baseball stats don’t always carry over run-for-run from minors to majors, but Brantley’s best minor league performances are Ellsbury-lite-esque.
We can assume that he’s at least been marginally impressive to someone if he’s the frontrunner for a starting job, so let’s assume for now that Brantley’s minor league stuff might hold up against the stuff major leaguers are going to throw at him.
If he’s dealt a good hand, Brantley could give you 80ish runs, 40ish steals and top that off with a .280-.300 average. I’d spend a last round or three pick on that long before I’d spend a first-two-rounds selection on Ellsbury.
There are some other things going on in baseball, they look like this:
Cliff Lee, Mariners — Lee underwent surgery on his foot. Every report I’ve seen has specified the minorness of this surgery to remove a bone spur that broke loose and was sloshing around in his foot juices. Lee may miss 2-3 weeks and the start of Spring Training. There’s a reason pitchers and catchers show up a little early. If Lee’s light-footed out of the gate, we should move him down draftboards a bit.
Tyler Greene, Cardinals — David Freese hasn’t iced down the 3B job in St. Louis yet and Greene, who played SS last season, is jumping into the octagon for a little competition in 2010. Greene’s best? 60/15/40/20/.250 in 450 ABs. That’s about as unexciting as Freese’s potential. Move along.
Fernando Martinez, Mets — If you’re looking for an edge in fantasy baseball, maybe you watched the Caribbean Series and saw that the New York outfielder was named MVP. Fernandez hit .348 with a pair of homers and four RBIs. But you may want to look elsewhere for your super sleeper. Martinez has never impressed in the minors and was less than unimpressive in a short debut last year. Maybe he has figured it out, but his best numbers in the minors would give him a 48/9/43/8/.287 line in 350 ABs. He’s also covering the six on a deep outfield depth chart.
Ian Desmond, Nationals — Remember what was said about playing time back when the words were discussing Michael Brantley? Desmond’s PT took a dive when Washington signed Adam Kennedy. I’m going to allow you to be encouraged that he may still get a roster spot, but I don’t recommend you draft him unless it’s as a last-three pick. Desmond will likely have multi-position eligibility by the time the season is over, but he’ll probably be picked too early by somebody basing his picks off a fantasy baseball magazine printed in December. I expect to pick him up off waivers at least once this season.
Nationals — Not many full team notes up here in Chinstrapland, but we’re doing it this time anyway. It’s Feb. 8 and Washington already has their lineup set according to MLB.com: Morgan OF, Guzman SS, Zimmerman, 3B, Dunn 1B, Willingham OF, Dukes OF, Rodriguez C, Kennedy 2B. Half of those players I wouldn’t own if they paid me to put them on my roster — that’s a bold-faced lie, I take PayPal or money orders. But checks take 10 days to clear. However, the other half, — the one with Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham — could help you win some fantasy sports contests in 2010.