Brett Gardner has spent the last three seasons proving me wrong. When you look at Gardner’s swing, you think there is absolutely no way this dude can survive in the major leagues. Every once in a while, he unleashes a nice, quick stroke on the way to the ball, but usually he’s a bit too long for a guy with that little power. It also baffles me that Brett has reached this level of baseball while seemingly never ever using his legs in a swing. Regardless, Brett has managed not to get the bat knocked out of his hands and has used a remarkably patient approach to turn out league average offensive production. When we pair that with his elite defense, we get a pretty valuable player, especially at his low cost. Still, I can’t help but get a little peeved with Gardy every once in a while. His 9th inning at bat last night.
Taking the second pitch is pretty excusable, considering many batters like to take a strike first. He fouled off pitches 6 and 7, definitely ones to take a hack at. But pitches 3 and 8, both called strikes, with the latter ending the at bat, are ones that I’d like to see Gardner take a whack at more often (though to be fair, pitch 3 was a backdoor slider and those can be hard to do anything with). Much has been made about Gardner working on his bunting to be a threat at the plate, but I’ll repeat myself here: I think Brett needs to focus on swinging the bat a bit more. Instead of bunting, Gardner should take a few more cuts, working to either chop the ball through the infield or, preferably, hit some line drives into the outfield. With Gardner’s speed, choppers could lead to infield hits and line drives will likely lead to singles. It’s also possible that those liners find a gap or two, putting Gardner on second or third.
Brett Gardner has carved himself out a nice little niche as a Yankee, and there probably isn’t much more room (if any) for him to grow. At this point, he’s probably all he’s going to be. That doesn’t mean that he can’t make adjustments. Taking a few more swings is an adjustment Gardner could make.
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