Quite frankly, Brett Gardner confuses the hell out of me. First off, I’m always surprised that he had a sub .400 SLG in the minors. I know he doesn’t have much power, but even that seems a bit “much” (or little?) if you get what I mean. How did he manage to have an OBP of .389 (and a fantastic IsoD of .100) without any noticeable power? Probably a combination of two things: a good batting eye and pitchers with iffy control.
Secondly, Gardner just makes me think. A lot. He makes me wonder how a player without much power can still manage to be so selective at the plate. On a very positive note, Gardner went into yesterday’s game seeing the most pitches per plate appearance of any Yankee, with the Nicks, Johnson and Swisher, not far behind. Seeing that makes me happy. If Gardner can see pitches, work the count, and somehow walk despite his lack of power, then he can steal bases and be an effective tool for the nine spot in the Yankees’ order. But, as I watch Gardner play, I’m not sure if he can do that. He takes a lot of pitches, which is always good, but some of the pitches he takes are ones at which he should be swinging. When he does swing, I really don’t like what I see.
The first thing I notice about most of Gardner’s swings is that they are quite long. I keep repeating this line about lack of power, but it’s needed. Guys with little power do not benefit from long swings. Of course, Gardner does occasionally swing down/chop at the ball, which sometimes leads to IF singles. Generally, though, Gardner is swinging long. Another bad habit he seems to have is that he doesn’t use his lower half during his swing. At all. This is a huge problem. Gardner’s not a big guy, so he definitely doesn’t have the strength to muscle a ball with just his arms. Because of that, he won’t drive the ball at all if he doesn’t begin to use his legs. I’m sure Kevin Long is in Brett’s ear about this all the time and this problem is at the crux of my befuddlement with Brett: how has a guy with a swing like that made it all the way to the Majors? No matter what, though, he’s here and he’s on my favorite team. His defense, along with his speed, is very valuable and if he can just improve a tiny bit at the plate, he could be a solid regular.
While we haven’t seen Curtis do any of the above yet, his defense has nonetheless been spectacular. Maybe I’m overstating it a bit, but I’ve been quite impressed with his defense thus far. His reads seem (to my amateur scout’s eye) to be excellent and because of this, Granderson doesn’t need to sprint to get to the ball. Instead, he can run at a good pace and get to the proper spot to catch the ball, or catch it in stride, without being off balance. Keep it up, Curtis!
These rings are just awesome. As we’d expect from the Yankees, they’re flashy but still maintain a sense of class. Hopefully, we’ll see ring number twenty-eight sooner rather than later.
Did you know that Derek Jeter is hitting .324 through the first eight games? I had no idea. This is truly a case of the frequent dissonance between what we see and what is real. Despite that high average, there are times when Jeter doesn’t quite look right and it still seems like a lot of stuff is going weakly to the shortstop. Whatever, though. As long as he’s hitting .324, I won’t complain how it looks. And, frankly, we could see an improvement on this .324 average. Right now, Jeter’s BABIP sits at “only” .3235, and his career BABIP is .360. Let’s hope that correction yields lots of hits for the Captain.
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