Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John Sickels: Brett Gardner Analysis

CF Brett Gardner, New York YankeesConsidered by many (including me) an overdraft when selected in the third round of the 2005 draft, Brett Gardner has fought his way to the big leagues this season. Through 104 MLB at bats, the speedy outfielder has a .202 batting average, a .263 on base percentage, and no homers. Never a power threat, Gardner has been lauded for his speed, plate discipline and above-average glove in center.

Minor-league baseball guru John Sickels blogged his thoughts on the New York Yankees’ youngster today. Here’s what he said:
What does the future hold? Despite the early problems, I still think he's got a future as a fourth outfielder. Gardner's track record is to thrive at one level, then struggle a bit in his first shot at the next level before adjusting and doing better in the second try. The lack of power is always going to be an issue, but he should get at least some of the plate discipline back. Not all of it: he doesn't have enough pop to scare pitchers into giving him excessive walks, but I expect much of the patience will return in time. His MLEs show him as a .250-.280 hitter with a .340-.370 OBP. The bottom range of that is unacceptable for a regular, but the upper range would be OK given his speed and glove work.

I think the original assessment of Gardner as Jason Tyner with more walks is still a good one. Whether that's enough to be a regular depends on the style of team I suppose. Gardner's glove work in center field is well-regarded; his arm is weak but he has excellent range. If you're getting enough power at other positions, Gardner in center field is plausible, but personally I still think he's best off as a fourth outfielder. His offense will be marginal for a regular, although if he hits at the top end you can make a case.

No comments: