Why the Cardinals Should Pass on Michael Brantley

Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images

by: Faron Peterson @FaronPJR and @CardinalsTake

The St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Michael Brantley all offseason, and a big reason for that is the Cardinals need for an additional lefty bat to balance out the right heavy lineup and an everyday number two hitter. 

On the surface, Brantley would appear to be a great fit and exactly what the Cardinals are looking for. He's a former all-star, one of the best contact hitters in the game, and a player you could pencil in at the number two spot day in and day out and not have to worry about him. 

Sounds great right? Not so fast...

Brantley, 32, on the open market will probably be looking for a 4-5 year contract in the range of $15 - $20 million per season. That's similar to what the Cardinals gave to Dexter Fowler a couple years ago at 5 yrs and $82.5 million. That's a lot of money to have tied up on a couple of outfielders that are on the wrong side of 30, especially when we have a player in Jose Martinez, 30,  that's similar in skillset to Michael Brantley. Both are very good hitters a but also very poor defenders, and you would be asking Brantley to move over to right field when he hasn't played a position other than left field since 2015 when he played in center.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on Brantley, he is a very good player and I'm sure most teams would love to have him, but Martinez and Brantley are similar enough to where I'm not sure paying Brantley a big contract is worth the added production you would receive over Martinez, who is under team control for 4 more seasons.

Let's compare their stats. Below are their combined season averages from 2017 and 2018.

Michael Brantley

.304 AVG - .360 OBP - .456 SLG - .816 OPS
503 PA - 14 HR - 64 RBI - 55 SO - 40 BB
32.4 AB/HR

Jose Martinez

.307 AVG - .371 OBP - .487 SLG - .859 OPS
449 PA - 16 HR - 65 RBI - 82 SO - 41 BB
26 AB/HR

And here are their averages against RHP in 2018

Michael Brantley 

.321 AVG-.380 OBP-.509 SLG - .889 OPS

Jose Martinez

.313 AVG - .366 OBP - .468 SLG - .834 OPS

As you can see, their stats are pretty similar. But Martinez has the edge in every stat except for strikeouts. Brantley, who hardly ever strikes out and almost always seems to make contact with the ball, is a left-handed batter and has a slight edge over the right-handed batter Martinez when facing right-handed pitching.

I guess it comes down to this: Would you rather the Cardinals hand out a big contract to a player in Brantley, or put that money towards other team needs such as an extra bullpen piece? 

There's also this kid named Bryce Harper available. Go big or go home.

No comments:

Post a Comment