Homegrown Gardner

Working for YES, and being the guy who gets to go to the minor league teams on a yearly basis is pretty darn cool.  Back in 2005, when we were covering the Staten Island Yankees, a young centerfielder led off the game with a bunt down the third base line and in the blink of an eye he was standing on first and the third baseman hadn’t even fielded the ball yet.  In case you’re wondering it was Brett Gardner.  I was in the SI Yankees dugout and turned to my shooter and said, “Wow!” 
I thought to myself, if this kid could do just a little with his bat he would definitely make the big club at some point…at the very least as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.  Gardner helped lead the SI Yankees to the 2005 New York Penn League Championship. 
As he kept making his way through the system, I followed his progress.  I make it a point to keep an eye on all of these kids that I go down on the farm to interview.
I interviewed him at Double “A” Trenton, and followed him at Triple “A” Scranton.  Its great to see someone like Brett, who has put the work in, and has made his way through the system, get his due.  Gardner will be the opening day centerfielder for Joe Girardi and the Yankees, and even though some “experts” aren’t comfortable with him being there…I am in a lazy boy with the fridge and a case of beer comfortable. 
Note to Yankee fans who need a bazooka to kill an ant at every position…you don’t…see 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.  If the pitching holds up and CC, AJ, Chien-Ming, Andy, and Joba stay healthy…and the bridge to Mo isn’t termites holding hands…October baseball will be in the Yankees future and you’ll see Brett Gardner will play a vital role.  Congratulations Brett.      

5 Comments

Congrats to Brett he deserved it.

I like to see an outfielder that can throw.With Gardner and Damon you will see opposing runners having a track meet.
Melky has the best arm of any centerfielder in the league.
I root for all yankees but I just dont feel Gardner can hit enough. Melky will be back out there.

Gardner has more range and will track down more balls than Melky. I think that is more important than the arm. Girardi also stated that Gardner gets rid of the ball quickly so him having a weaker arm than melky doesn’t make much of a difference.

Joe Auriemma here. While I think that Melky has the better arm, Brett’s arm really wasn’t too shabby from the practices that Chris and I were watching. Now Melky threw one of the best on target strikes to third base I’ve ever seen, Brett most of the time was very accurate, got there on one hop and would have definitely gotten the runner out.

I just feel like with Melky what you see is what you get and even with that great arm, Melky does make the occasional extremely bad blunder out in the field. He is a bigger hitter, with no pop and not a lot of speed on the base paths. His numbers don’t indicate that he’s ever going to greatly improve on what he already is, mediocre.

yankee7777, it is clear you know the game and I respect you, but we seem to disagree a lot.
I love Gardner. Melky does have the better arm, that is true, but Brett’s arm isn’t terrible, just avg. And he gets to balls Melky can’t get to. Mely has played in the big leagues during a time he knew he had to do well to keep his job (last yr.) he couldn’t. I think it’s time to give Gardner a shot.
I’m not predicting anything, but I do think Gardner has a shot at a 300 avg. with 40 steals. Just a shot, though. Not calling it or anything.

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