Rookie Brett Gardner has been opening a lot of eyes in Yankee land.
I have been following this young man’s minor league career for the last two seasons, and have had nothing but good things to say about him. I was thrilled to see him get the Bronx call-up. He’s got a great eye at the plate, high OBP, speed ranked 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale and a very good arm in Centerfield. He seemingly swipes bags, almost at will; it seems every time he’s on base, he scores a run ala Ichiro Suzuki. The kid has abnormal speed; I’m talking track line drives down in the gaps type of speed. He goes from 1st to 3rd with ease and stretches singles into doubles, as if it’s a routine jog for him. This is the kind of speed which will even elevate a player’s slugging percentage.
While I’m not going to fall in love with him because of a strong September, as I have foolishly done with so many prospects in the past( Ian Kennedy). I would like to see him have a chance as starting Centerfielder during the 09 season. I strongly believe he possesses the ability to be on base thirty-six to thirty-eight percent of the time, just because of his plate discipline and speed alone; if Gardner were to get on base at that percentage, he would be a completely dangerous player–a thorn in the opposing manager’s side, and a pain in the opposing pitchers rear-end. 40 stolen bags and over 100 runs scored for season after season is not out of the question for this young man at all. His defense also seems to be a potential Gold Glove.
I’ll tell you this: He’s a heck of a lot better than Melky Cabrera, no-matter how you slice it. He’s also cheap, which gives the Yankees more flexibility were they to sign a top-notch starting pitcher like CC Sabathia, or a star first baseman such as Mark Teixeira .
Good luck Brett, I hope to see you next season.