CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians acquired a speedy minor-league outfielder yesterday from the Milwaukee Brewers to complete the CC Sabathia trade.
The Indians selected Michael Brantley as the player to be named in the July deal. The 21-year-old hit .319 with 80 runs scored and 28 stolen bases in the leadoff spot at Double-A Huntsville.
"He's a guy obviously that's at an advanced level for his age," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.
Brantley will likely start next season at Triple-A Columbus, the Indians' new affiliate, and has the potential to be playing in Cleveland soon, Shapiro said.
"We'll let him dictate the pace from there," Shapiro said. "He's probably not too far away."
The Indians previously got outfielder Matt LaPorta and pitchers Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson from Milwaukee in the trade for Sabathia, who went 11-2 for the Brewers and helped them reach the playoffs for the first time since 1982.
LaPorta, a first-round draft pick last year, hit .288 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs in 84 games for Huntsville last season before the trade. He hit just .233 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 17 games for Double-A Akron after the deal.
LaPorta suffered a mild concussion when he was hit in the head by a pitch while playing for the U.S. team in the Olympics in a game against China.
Jackson was the only player in the deal to play for Cleveland last season. He went 2-3 with a 5.60 ERA in nine starts for the Indians and will compete for a spot in the rotation next year.
Shapiro said Brantley's combination of speed and plate discipline make him a candidate to be the Indians' future leadoff hitter.
He had a .395 on-base percentage last season with 50 walks and 27 strikeouts.
Brantley is the son of Mickey Brantley, who played for the Seattle Mariners from 1986-89. Shapiro said that's probably helped him advance quickly through the minor leagues.
"When that pedigree is there, it's that understanding of professional baseball and the lifestyle and handling the demands and the pressure," Shapiro said.
The Brewers selected Brantley in the seventh round of the 2005 draft out of Ft. Pierce Central High School in Florida.
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