Monday, February 23, 2009

Yankees Staying Quiet

Its good to see that after the circus that was the first week of Spring Training things have by and large quieted down. Its good for the Yankees, but not so good for bloggers who need something to write about. I did read a good story in the NY Times about Joe Niekro's son, Lance Niekro whose learning the knuckleball, but alas, it doesn't fill my need for Yankees news. So in my search for Yankees news I went over to the Peter Abraham blog, and saw a poll on the right asking who we thought should be the center fielder this season with the options being Melky, Damon, Gardner, Swisher, and make a trade. To my surprise Gardner was way in the lead.

Now don't get me wrong. I think Gardner can really help the team, and I think he should have a roster spot. But people have lost their minds if they think Gardner is our best center field option. Now, considering that more than double the people voted for Gardner over Melky, I know I'm going to have to explain my point of view. Allow me to explain.

Most people don't want Melky because of the horrible season he had last year. Further more, Melky has yet to really have a distinguishable season. He has shined defensively, and has had some great moments in the past at the plate, but he hit .280 and .273 his first two seasons before having a major decline in production last season. Melky hit .249 last season, but the numbers that really concern the team are the .301 OBP, and the .341 slugging. Basically, the kid couldn't hit, couldn't walk, and when he did hit, it was rarely for extra bases. Now enter Gardner. Gardner impressed many last season with his speed and some walk off dramatics. A left handed hitter who could lead off in a pinch. That's certainly a valuable player to have. However, where many were concerned about Melky's lack of power, walks, and batting average, they seemed very willing to over look Gardner's .228 average, .283 OBP, and .299 slugging. Of course this was limited play, but I still didn't see anything that told me that this guy could out hit Melky. With a swing that only incorporates his upper body, we really cannot expect much power out of Gardner, but that doesn't really matter since his bread and butter is his ability to steal a base. However, he didn't show much of an ability to get on base either (30 strikeouts to 8 walks). Don't get me wrong. Gardner is still young, and could certainly fill the role, I also believe he can do better than his numbers from last season, however, I also know Melky can do better than last season, and given his three years of big league experience, his switch hitting ability, and his age (Melky's 24, one year younger than Gardner), I think Melky is the better player for the position.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I don't understand why people are hating on Melky all the time. They call Melky on his numbers while giving Gardner a pass on his. Plus Melky has the upside of his personality and catch phrase "The Melkman delivers!" If Gardner is going to be our center fielder someone has to come up with a clever catch phrase for him.

Anonymous said...

I love gardner.. i'll sing his praises till the cows come home. Melky was one of my favorite, but seeing him break down was alot to bear, and then to have Brett do what he did in the few games he played, it is easy to forget how much pop melky's got out in CF..It'll all come down to a head to head between the two.I think who ever impresses during the exhibition games will see more playing time. but if you go off of who is ready right now, i'd say melky cause he's got the expierence on his side.either way, I know when a pop fly heads for CF I am gonna see some good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Melky should win the job. There's no question that Gardner is fast. He is very athletic and after the Rays did there thing last year every one wants to be more athletic. Yankees fans also seemed to get a bit Ellsbury envy early last season.

That said Melky is pretty athletic. He has the quickness to steal bases, it may be a matter of learning how to. He has the cannon. He looks kind of stocky but that he doesn't play that way.

The value of Gardner's base stealing is also over rated. First he has to get on base. If he were actually able to steal like people seem to think, he would make Rickey Henderson look like Cecil Fielder. I think its Bill James who claims that stolen bases have little impact on winning the game. I don't have the link, its just something I remember reading.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I'm with all of you. Gardner is good and is still developing as a player, but if we're just talking about the 2009 season, you have to go with Melky.

Espresso, I think you're right about Ellsbury envy. I'm just hoping Melky can get himself going this season. I honestly think that both him and Cano came into last season cocky, and were humbled as a result. Hopefully they've learn, and Melky comes ready to reclaim his position.

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook the fact that Gardner finished last season on a 10 game hitting streak including that 4 RBI night. However, Melkman IS out of options.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Thanks Kaylee! Glad you like it, and I hope you post more often.

Anonymous, you're close, he had a 6 game hitting streak, but he did have that 4 RBI night against the Red Sox no less. His batting spree brought him from a .190 average to the .228 he finished the season with. The thing is, if they would let him play regularly, I think he could really grow into something, but it all comes down to who our best option is for this season, and it isn't Gardner.