The Daily News’ Mike Lupica drew an interesting comparison here between Yankee neophyte and Red Sox uberstar, Dustin Pedroia. Lupica, as you’d expect, didn’t do any real analysis, just drawing parallels between the two players’ size and grittiness, so I pulled up the trusty Baseball Cube to try to see if there could possibly be anything to this comp.
I went through a few different phases in thinking about this. My first reaction was, “hey, that’s kind of cool! Maybe Gardner COULD turn into our version of a Pedroia. They’re both 5’9, 5’10 and 180 with an aggressive approach to the game. Maybe there’s something to this!”
At second glance I thought, “Wait a minute! These guys are the same age and Pedroia won an MVP last year, while Gardner struggled to make a major league roster. Isn’t it kind of insane to even try to compare them? Hey, this is Spring Training. These stats mean nothing.”
My third take is, “Let’s take a look at the numbers. What can it hurt, right?”
Like I said, Gardner is behind Pedroia, in terms of age. They are the same age, but Brett had the same year last year that Pedroia had 2 years ago. Despite being the same size and build, a glance at the respective minor league numbers shows that Pedroia showed flashes of power that Gardner never has. Dustin slugged over .500 in both A+ and AA ball while BG has consistently posted slugging numbers around .420. He’s never flashed power over any significant period.
While lacking Pedroia’s power stroke, BG has a clear edge in speed. Pedroia has good wheels, stealing a career high 20 bags last year, but Gardner swiped 50 between AAA and the bigs last year.
They’re both bright hitters who make adjustments. They each have shown clear patterns of drops in statistics upon switching levels, but they quickly learn how to compensate and elevate their games. This is the big hope if you want to hold out for Gardner turning into our Pedroia. You would have to put faith in his ability to make adjustments and raise his level of production. Unfortunately, you can’t really expect anything like this to happen, because you have to rely on projection. Could Gardner turn into a pocket-sized terror, like Pedroia? Yeah, he could, but based on his age and previous power numbers, it’s far from a lock. I really like the kid and I’m rooting for him but, Spring Training numbers or no, it’s still very tough to tell whether he’ll hit enough to be a valuable contributor, let alone a league MVP.
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