Over at ESPN’s new and entertaining (but poorly named) The Max Info blog, Yankee fan and RAB reader Katie Sharp named leftfield favorite Brett Gardner the Yankees’ player to watch for the 2010 season (Insider req’d). She points out that Gardner had by far the best speed score (9.2, a metric developed by Bill James that considers things like stolen base percentages, triples, etc) of any batter with at least 250 plate appearances last season, and that his 16% infield hit rate was tied for Ichiro as the best in the business. As soon as he improves his bunting, I’m hopeful that number will go up even more.
I don’t think Gardner’s quite as good defensively as his small sample UZR suggest, but he’s obviously very good. If he can work his way into being a non-zero offensive player out of the nine-hole, then I’ll take it every day of the week.