What to Expect from Michael Brantley in 2017

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CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 4: Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a run during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on May 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Michael Brantley is a name familiar among Cleveland Indians fans, and with the rest of the baseball world. An All-Star in 2014, Brantley definitely has the potential to be a top-ten outfielder in Major League Baseball The only problem is his health. His shoulder has kept him away from the game for quite some time now. He missed a huge portion of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery on the injured shoulder. Brantley could be a key piece to an Indians team that made it to Game 7 of the World Series last year. Here’s what fans should expect from Brantley in 2017.

What to Expect from Michael Brantley in 2017

Along with being the sole All-Star from the Indians team in 2014, Brantley also finished third in MVP voting. The main thing to realize about him putting up MVP-like numbers that year is that he did it on a completely different Cleveland squad. In 2014, the Indians were without shortstop phenom Francisco Lindor and Rookie of the Year candidate Tyler Naquin, and did not have Jose Ramirez for the whole season. It bears remembering that the Indians just signed slugger Edwin Encarnacion in the offseason to bolster the power in their lineup.

Yes, there is a lot to be hopeful for. If Brantley does come back healthy, the Indians lineup will look more dangerous than ever. In all likelihood, his stats will surge and show off an increase in runs batted in and runs scored. Michael just entered Spring Training and is 3-6 with an RBI and one run scored, so no conclusions should be drawn just yet. There isn’t really much one can discern from such a small sample size, and Spring Training stats should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Is Michael Brantley the Indians Key to a Successful 2017?

Yes and no. Clearly, the Indians can do it without Michael, as they did last year. Yet, the Indians collapsed in the World Series after going up 3-1 on the Chicago Cubs. With an outfield that was all over the place, Brantley may have been just what the Indians needed (along with a healthy rotation).

The starting pitchers are healthier this year and Michael Brantley could be swinging like it is 2014 all over again. This is a great sign for Cleveland fans. Is there any certainty that he will finish the season healthy and with a starting outfield spot? No. There is still a chance that this is all hype and Brantley is headed towards the end of his career, but that is not very likely. If Michael Brantley returns to the Indians healthy in 2017, expect a big season out of the stud outfielder.

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