Double-A Transition Monitor: Michael Brantley
One of my favorite sleepers the last couple of years has been Michael Brantley, Brewers outfield prospect. Here is what I wrote about him in the book this year.
The Brewers sent Brantley back to West Virginia to begin 2007, and he got off to a hot start, hittting .335/.413/.440 with 18 steals and 31 walks in 218 at-bats. He also hit 15 doubles, starting to show a bit more power. He was promoted all the way to Double-A two weeks ago, skipping advanced A.
Having just turned 20 last month, he's one of the youngest players in Double-A. The early returns: 8-for-36 (.222) in 11 games, but with two doubles, eight walks, and two steals in two attempts. He's continuing to control the strike zone well, and as long as he keeps doing that I think he's got a good shot at making the transition to Double-A successfully.
I don't think he's going to be a big home run hitter, but his pop to the gaps has improved this year, and his speed and on-base skills are impressive. His youth stands out, and he's athletic and still physically projectable.
Brantley's dad, Mickey Brantley, had some major league success although his career didn't last long. He was fast like his kid but had more power. Given his bloodlines, I wonder how much power the younger Brantley can develop? Overall I remain very intrigued with him. At worst he should be a fine fourth outfielder, and if his pop continues to develop he could be a regular.