The Astros made official today the signing of former Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley. They are getting Brantley on a two-year deal.
In 2018, the Astros didn’t get much production out of left field. Combined, their left fielders slashed .232/.312/.389 and hit 18 homers while driving in 71 runs. Brantley slashed .309/.364/.468 with 17 homers and 76 RBI last year and posted a WAR of 3.6. If there were a hole in the Astros lineup it was left field, but that will be the case no more.
Brantley should slide into the fifth spot nicely for the Stros, hitting between Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel. He adds a much needed left handed bat to the lineup, as the only other left handed starters are Josh Reddick and Tony Kemp, neither of whom hit as well as Brantley.
The most impressive thing about Houston’s newly acquired left fielder though is his ability to make contact. This seems to be an asset the Astros value very highly. Last season Brantley swung at 1,008 pitches last year and only missed 111 times. His swing and miss rate of 11 percent was good for third best in all of baseball. His new teammate Alex Bregman was seventh best last season with a whiff rate of 12.9 percent.
This signing makes the already potent Astros lineup even more impressive. After coming off a tough defeat in the 2018 postseason, the Stros front office realizes they have work to do to keep up with New York and Boston. This addition helps that cause immensely
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