One of my favorite websites is Yanks Go Yard. I love baseball & I love my Yankees.
Get over it.
Today I stumbled across a piece titled “Why Brett Gardner Is Not Leading Off” and decided to check it out.
Well, there’s a few minutes of my life I won’t ever get back -_-.
I don’t want to be too picky and I don’t want to straight bash the author but it’s a hot mess of “man you couldn’t be more wrong”.
Of Brett Gardner the author laments:
Unfortunately, his promise hasn’t come to fruition. Putting injuries aside, what has held him back? What improvements does he need to make to get him back to the top of the lineup?
The primary area is on- base- percentage. His OBP this year is only .331 for the season and .353 for his MLB career. How could the Yankees offense thrive with such a low percentage? To put it into perspective, Robinson Cano’s batting average this season is .324. So Cano’s likelihood to reach base is almost as high as Gardener’s without even including Cano’s walks and times hit by a pitch.
Let’s put this further in perspective.
Johnny Damon has long been considered one of the premier lead-off hitters in the last couple of decades.
His career OBP? .352. Or in other words, lower than Gardners.
Another vital stat for your lead-off batter is Pitches-Per-Plate-Appearance (PPPA).
Damon’s best season was that magical 2004 campaign for the Boston Red Sox where he posted a 4.12. Gardner’s best season was 2011 where he saw 4.40 PPPA. His career average is 4.28, considerably better than Damon’s.
Later in the article he says:
When Gardener does get on base he has not been particularly effective, either. Opposing catchers have gunned him down twice in six stealing attempts this season. His career numbers are not much better. He has gone down thirty- two times out of one hundred and seventy-three stealing attempts.
Dude, www.baseball-reference.com is your friend. Really.
First things first, in 2011 he started off the season 5 for 11 in SB attempts. Then rattled off over 30 straight steals without being caught, ending the season at 49 SB vs 13 CS. It’s a small sample and not indicative of what he can do (has done).
Secondly, the fact that Girardi is an idiot isn’t helping him.
In the skipper’s infinite wisdom (even saying that sarcastically made me throw up in my mouth) he is batting Robinson Cano 2d most nights.
In other words, he puts a swing early, swing often, notoriously impatient, has one of the lowest PPPA’s in MLB behind the speed guy. There’s no sizing a pitcher up, no getting a read on his delivery…none of that.
If you’re stealing you best go on the first pitch. Not ideal for base-stealers. I mean, why don’t we just tie his shoelaces together and REALLY make sure he won’t get as many steals as he normally would?
This foolish move by the manager has effectively taken the man’s best asset completely out of the equation.
Thirdly, and perhaps most laughable is….he has a BETTER stolen base percentage than Henderson (80.4%), Rivers (72%), Lou Brock (75%), Vince Coleman (79%) and is barely behind Tim Raines (82%)..a.k.a. the Gold Standard for stolen base efficiency.
I have always said people are entitled to their opinions they just aren’t entitled to their own set of facts to back them up.
That realllllly seems to apply to this piece.