Michael Brantley, LF
The Cleveland Indians exist in their own little state of Rust Belt anonymity. They have one of the best rotations in baseball and a few young stars on the rise. Michael Brantley is one of those stars who is a marketer’s dream. He has a great reputation, big smile, and even sweeter swing. If the Indians are to make the playoffs this season as many have predicted, Brantley will need to return from injury without having missed a beat.
Were it not for playing in one of the league’s smallest markets (the Indians played in front of the second-smallest average crowd in the league last year), Brantley would be more of a household name nationwide. Until the Indians break through and actually capitalize on all of their great starting pitching, Brantley will remain more of a regional star rather than a national star. It remains an outright injustice that Brantley did not even make the All-Star Game’s Final Vote ballot last season. He is loved in Cleveland, and should get more attention nationwide.