The Yankees are seriously thinking of adding another outfielder to complete their 2010 roster. But before they do any actions they should look at there present option to play left field..... that guy is no other than Brett Gardner.
Brett Gardner is the right man for left field. His has quick feet that can roam the outfield and he hustles to track down fly balls. He is not afraid to sacrifice his body even to the point of injury. We've seen him number of times in the past smashing to the wall just to catch the ball.
Gardner with right fielder Nick Swisher and new center fielder Curtis Granderson have excellent defensive skills and is an upgrade compared to the Yankees 2009 outfield roster.
Gardner is a perfect fit in the 9th hole. His patience at the plate gives him a lot of walks where he can use his talent to steal bases. With Jeter and OBP monster Nick Johnson at the top of the order, it will be easy for them to bring Gardner home (Gardner normally steal 2nd base). This is an automatic RBI for the team.
Gardner has little power but he compensates it with his consistent batting. He has a .270 average and a OBP of .345, he uses the whole field while making consistent hard contact.
But the main reason what makes Gardner valuable to the Yankees is his speed. Gardner's skills are enticing that the Yankees choose Gardner over co-team mate and outfielder Melky Cabrera (who is a excellent defensive player) to be traded to the Braves to get a starting pitcher.
Gardner is the fastest base runner in the organization. He has solid base running instincts and is adept at picking spots, knowing when it's more valuable to the team for him to use the threat of a stolen base to get the pitcher to throw fastballs to the heart of the order.
Gardner's legs is his greatest asset. There was one time where he made an inside the park home run (a difficult feat) against the Minnesota Twins on May 15, 2009. It took Gardner only 14 seconds to go around the bases, a total distance of 360 feet. That's lightning quick.
Gardner just played 108 games in 2009 but he managed to steal 26 bases. Just imagine what he could achieve if he completes the whole season. He could be a 40-50 base stealer adding another element to the Yankees power-house roster.
It's difficult to say what will Gardner bring in 2010. But if stays healthy and remain consistent the Yankees will much be better off without Johnny Damon. The Yankees will be better if they platooned Gardner with Reed Johnson, Jerry Hairston Jr., or even Jonny Gomes.
It will entirely depend on Gardner's performance this coming season. Speed and base stealing is an under-rated skill that goes over look. But this skills are the ones that made baseball team win ball games. It gives an element of surprise to opposing teams.
Every team wants to add speed and base stealing. The Yankees have that in Brett Gardner.
Posted On Sunday, January 10, 2010 at at 5:09 AM by Francis Isberto