Monday, February 1, 2010

Spring Preview: Center Field

Brett Gardner

2009 Stats: .270/3/23/.345

I'm going out on a limb here by guessing that the Yankees will end up playing Gardner in Center rather than Left. We saw last year with the one and two spots in the line up that Girardi will make decisions based on what he thinks is the best fit for the team, not the individual players. Since most baseball people seem to agree that Gardner is better defensively in center, I'm going to go ahead and guess that Girardi plays him there.

Gardner is an unproven commodity. He began 2009 as the starting Center Fielder, only to be replaced by Melky Cabrera when he didn't hit. Presumably, he'll get a longer look in Center this time around, but with Randy Winn on the bench, if Gardner doesn't hit we can expect to see Granderson back in Center with Winn in Left. At that point Gardner would resume his important role of giving high fives and keeping the seats of players currently on base warm.

Gardner's most important stat? .345. Gardner's OBP, assuming he can sustain that in a starting role, would be impressive in the 9 spot, and would give the Yankees three on base guys prior to the 3 and 4 spots after the first time through the line-up. I suspect it's that OBP that has the Yankees willing to take a flyer on this guy.

2010 Prediction:

Gardner will be thrust into scandal over his endorsement of Rogaine when it is revealed that he was bald voluntarily. He will not replicate his .345 OBP but no one will care because he's the nine hitter on a team that will almost score 1000 runs anyway.

Little Known Gardner Fact:

Brett Gardner is so fast that the street signs in his neighborhood used to read: FAST, CHILDREN.


Anonymous said...

Psht Gardner's OBP will be .400, 89 steals/2 CS.

For whatever reason, I really like him. I have a lot of faith in him. I have no idea why, probably just because I see a lot of reasons to be optimistic with the 2010 Yankees.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

There's certainly a lot to like about '10 Yankees. Hopefully Gardner plays up to expectations.

Jon Roberts said...

I recognize Gardner's speed, but he seems to not know how to use it. He looks tentative on the bases, and he doesn't look great in center despite his legs. I hope these are just signs of him being relatively inexperienced. I would think that there are enough good base runners and coaches to help him learn that. Jeter and Arod are both guys with decent but not crazy speed who know how swipe a bag, so I hope he learns from them.

I guess my take on him is that he is an opportunity for Girardi to show how good of a coach he really is.

I also think the steals are pretty much irrelevant with this lineup. He just needs to be on base and go first to third well and he will score plenty of runs. I see him getting on any way he can, Jeter singles to right to move him to third and Swisher just lifts a ball deep somewhere and you have a run.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

You're right about his tentativeness on the base paths. He has a bad habit of not running when he should and running when he shouldn't. He also has the same issue with not swinging the bat enough.

It'll be interesting what they do with him. I worry that we may be asking whether Cash should've traded him this winter come July.

Anonymous said...

I almost wish we traded Gardner + pieces for Javy instead of Melky + pieces because my mom has been whining about how Melky was so clutch and awesome and blah blah blah, when last year she wanted to kill him every time he stepped up to bat.

WHOAH, word verification: "metsloss"