Baseball America has evaluated the top 20 rookies this season (thus far) and our boy Brett Gardner is featured at number 9.
Here’s what BA had to say about Gardner’s strong season:
Singles hitters have value, too, especially when they have quick bats, a discerning eye and explosive acceleration and speed. Gardner is one reason for the Yankees’ strong offensive showing in the first half, when they led the AL in runs—with an assist from the new Yankee Stadium. Gardner hit just three home runs in 94 Triple-A games last season, but—before you ask—he has hit two of his three homers this season on the road. On the other side of the ball, Gardner’s plus glove has helped energize an aging, slowing defensive unit.
Gardner’s speed and defense have been phenomenal assets this year. In fact, according to Bill James’ Speed Score, Brett Gardner is the fastest player in the game (with a mininum of 210 plate appearances). Fangraphs uses a 4-component version of Speed Score,
Gardner’s speed and defense have been phenomenal assets this year. In fact, according to Bill James’ Speed Score, Brett Gardner is the fastest player in the game (with a mininum of 210 plate appearances). Fangraphs uses a 4-component version of Speed Score,The Da Vinci Code release
which, according to David Appelman, “is an average of Stolen Base Percentage, Frequency of Stolen Base Attempts, Percentage of Triples, and Runs Scored Percentage.” Gardner’s Speed Score is 8.6 (the range is 0-10)—the highest in baseball. Only Michael Bourn, the NL leader in SB’s, comes close to Gardner with a score of 8.4 (for fun, Jacoby Ellsbury’s score is 7.3). This speaks volumes about Gardner’s ability to swipe bags, stretch hits and score runs.
Furthermore, one cannot forget Gardner’s defensive prowess. Though his arm may be overrated in center, his range is superb and his UZR/150—20.1—definitely demonstrates that (Franklin Gutierrez and Colby Rasmus are the only CF’s with better ratings per 150). If his numbers are maintained, Gardner will ultimately emerge as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and possibly the best defensive CF in the AL East (B.J. Upton is waiting in the winds to take that title). So, not only can Gardner score runs, but he can save them, too.
Plus, his offense has been extremely valuable. His .347 wOBA is second only to Adam Jones in the AL East (for CF’s) and, last but not least, if you believe in being “clutch,” Gardner he has been one of the better clutch hitters on the team
. There’s not much Gardner hasn’t done for the Yankees this season. In sum, Gardner definitely earned his spot on Baseball America’s list. Now all he has to do is keep it up for the rest of the season, which is easier said than done. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 move
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