It’s a rarity that a player for the New York Yankees can have his accomplishments go under the radar, but that is exactly what has happened to Brett Gardner this season.
Gardner has been the most steady performer this season for a club that has been hit hard by injuries and inconsistency up and down their lineup.
The speedy left fielder is batting .287 this season (10 points better than he has ever batted for a full season), and a .356 OBP, with 15 stolen bases, but what has been most impressive for Gardner this year has been his run production. Gardner is fourth on the Yankees with 6 homers, and fifth on the club with 28 RBIs. Gardner is on pace to shatter his career highs in both of those categories.
In the most recent release of American League All-Star game balloting, Gardner sits 13th among American League outfielders with 737.736 votes, approximately 900,000 behind Melky Cabrera, who currently ranks third and 500,000 behind teammate Jacoby Ellsbury, who ranks seventh.
Despite Ellsbury’s substantial vote lead, if you compare their on the field production, Gardy has the edge in my opinion. Ellsbury trails the left fielder in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage this year. Ellsbury does have more RBIs than Gardner, but he has spent most of the season in the three hole, a much better run producing spot than Gardner’s usual lead off position.
It is highly unlikely that Gardner could make up the votes to become a starter at this seasons mid summer classic, and I don’t think he would deserve that honor, but he certainly deserves to be considered for a spot on the bench.
Despite not having the name recognition of those surrounding him in the voting, with players like Torii Hunter, Alex Rios, Shin-Soo Choo and Josh Hamilton surrounding him in the voting right now, he is well on his way to a career year, and at 30 years old, he may not ever have a better chance at representing the Yankees for the American League than he does right now.
He may not have the reputation of some of his contemporaries, both on his own team and around the league, but this season he has been as important to the success of the Yankees as any other everyday player. He deserves some recognition for that.