Baseball Reference. com says it best when describing Brett Gardner “Much better than Melky and almost as good as Ellsbury” Before I get into what Brett can or will do for the Yankees lets look at what he is not going to do.
1. Brett is not going to hit 20 hr (Probably less than 10)
2. Brett is not going to bat .322 with 200 hits. (Ichiro he is not)
3. Brett is not going to have 1oo RBI’s (again not Ichiro)
What Brett is going to do is
1. Solid Defense : Gardner has good range and takes much better routes to the ball than Melky did. He has an average arm,but compared to Damon’s arm he might as well be Ichiro in the field
2. Brett is going to lead the Yankees in stolen bases, extra base hits , Sacrifices and Bunt singles. : I know the extra base hits is a bold statement and seems unlikely, but Brett is a smart base runner and getting better all the time. He is truly one of those guys that will turn a deep single into a double with a high percentage of success. He does his homework and knows who’s arms he can test and when to test them. Brett is still a young talent on the base pads with amazing speed and I’m predicting he swipes 30 bases in 2010.
The one thing that I like about Brett Gardner more than any other Yankee is that he plays hard and isn’t afraid to get his uniform dirty. Batting in the ninth position Brett will cause pitchers to get ulcers when he is on the base pads and pitchers will pay for paying to much attention to him . With Jeter in the leadoff spot those mistakes wont go unnoticed.
At every level of ball Gardner has played the more time he plays the better he gets. It is Brett’s job to lose and the only other player that in my mind even has a chance to win the position would be Randy Winn and that is a serious long-shot.
Jamie Hoffman the Rule 5 acquisition is an intriguing young talent. He most likely will not make the 25 man roster out of the gate and will have to be offered back to the Dodgers who will hopefully work out a deal with the Yankees that will land Hoffman in Scranton. However there is a chance that Hoffman could win a bench role with the Yankees if he has an impressive spring.
Marcus Thames doesn’t have much of a chance to make the roster . He does provide a bit more pop in his bat than Gardner but he hasn’t ever started more than 110 games and has spent the majority of his career as a bench player. At 32 he lacks the speed and athleticism that Gardner brings to the field. Thames is on a minor league deal and certainly will add to the depth of the outfield situation and may make the outfield competition a bit more interesting. But hey what do I know?, he may come with his A game and make everyone else look bad this spring, but I doubt it.
Check out this Video and tell me why you would want anyone else.