Mar
28

Long: I expect big things from Brett Gardner

By

Brett Gardner won’t be patrolling centerfield this season, but hitting coach Kevin Long didn’t let that stop him from comparing the Yanks’ speedster to another former Yank, Kenny Lofton. “If I seem overly excited about him, I am,” said Long “Kenny was a bigger, more physical player, or [physical] looking player. But Gardy could do what Kenny Lofton did. I wouldn’t see why he couldn’t,” Long told The Post. “That would be a good comparison.”

In case you only view the world through Yankee goggles, Lofton was an absolutely tremendous player for more than 15 years. At his peak, he was a .316-.390-.443 (.374 wOBA) hitter who averaged 52 steals and 44 extra base hits a season. Long also mentioned Juan Pierre when talking about Gardner, which seems a bit more realistic.

Categories : Asides

54 Comments»

  1. there’s a big diff between Pierre and Lofton.

    Gardner is a real good 4th OF option. He may hit a bit better this year, but for a guy with his speed, he doesn’t seem to be a very good base stealer/base runner/bunter.

    • andrew says:

      He’s 40/48 on SB’s with the Yankees and 156/187 in the minors. Seems like he’s a pretty good base stealer, considering the league average is around 70%. Also, he spoke about why he wasn’t a good bunter. He needed to work on his swing in the minors and consequently didn’t focus on bunting. He said he spent a lot of time this offseason adding bunting to his game so that he will be more dangerous this year.

      Also, taken straight from a RAB article: “according to EqBRR he was worth 4.9 runs in all baserunning situations, 11th best in baseball despite being a part-time player”

      All indications seem to point to him being a very good base runner, and he has acknowledged his lack of bunting and attempted to address. The jury is still out on that until we see what improvements he’s made this year.

      • I figured someone who dig up the stats, but this one is just the ‘eye test’…and he seems to make blunders base running/stealing.

        • andrew says:

          I know what you mean. There was that play at the plate when Mauer dove and tagged him out and then he was caught stealing twice in the playoffs, but the bigger picture seems to say that despite those blunders, overall he is definitely a net positive on the base paths.

          All that being said, the introduction of bunting to his game could provide pretty sizable dividends to his overall production, so I’m very interested to see how much he bunts this year.

        • …this one is just the ‘eye test’…and he seems to make blunders base running/stealing.

          http://www.cbsnews.com/stories.....8039.shtml

          • Ugh, Tommie. That’s so horrible for Mr. Cotton.

            Despicable that the new Lineup method detailed in the article isn’t universal.

            • YankFanDave says:

              Lofton had something Gardner doesn’t seem to possess — assertiveness. Lofton knew how to use his #1 asset, speed, by being aggressive on the bases and bunting. Gardner, on-the-other-hand, has just begun to learn how to bunt(at 26 going on 27) and he has been very tentative on the bases.

              Having a skill and using it are two different things and Gardner has yet to prove he can exploit his skill.

    • salty buggah says:

      Did you see him in postseason caught up between 3 rd and home, and he made it back to 3rd safely after the rundown failed? He was too fast.

  2. Will says:

    I think Long spent a little too much time out in the rain today.

  3. MikeD says:

    It would be fantasitic if Gardner turned into a peak-form Lofton. I don’t see it happening, but will be quite happy to be proven wrong.

  4. Fanta says:

    Long is delusional

  5. Salty Buggah says:

    Brett Gardner will be a pretty good player I think. Why? Because he “represents a shift in baseball culture, a departure from the recent Steroid Era, when drug-enhanced power ruled the day. He marks baseball’s return to players defined by their athleticism, speed and grit on the field.”

    (Obviously, I don’t really mean that, especially the grit part, but that’s what I read from this article about him: http://spinner.cofc.edu/magazine/feature-009.html)

    Seriously though, Gardy will be a solid player. Not Kenny Lofton but a bit better than what most people at RAB think.

  6. It is interesting, however, how little predictive value Lofton’s minor league numbers were. To wit:

    Lofton, miL: 1468 PA, .300/.325/.379
    Lofton, bigs: 9234 PA, .299/.372/.423 (107+)

    Pierre, miL: 1452 PA, .331/.379/.393
    Pierre, bigs: 6064 PA, .301/.348/.372, (85+)

    Gardner, miL: 1754 PA, .289/.389/.383
    Gardner, bigs: ???

    Lofton was an amazing speedster and athlete, but was pretty raw as a farmand and didn’t have all that amazing of a minor league career.

    I think even the Pierre comp isn’t quite right, though. I like the Dave Roberts comp I’ve pimped a little more.

    Roberts, miL: 3678 PA (no, seriously), .294/.380/.405
    Roberts, bigs: 3090 PA, .266/.342/.366 (89+)

  7. YankeesJunkie says:

    Gardner has improved every year after staying with the club for a full season. If Gardner has a healthy 2010 he could easily be a league average which would be amazing for the #9 hole. Also all the hit run possibilities with Jeter is pretty exciting, Gardner could be one of those big run scorers rather than a run producers.

  8. Poopy Pants says:

    He’s more like James Lofton.

  9. Drew says:

    I obviously hope Long is right, I just don’t see it though.

  10. dkidd says:

    brett gardner is nothing like kenny lofton! kenny lofton is a gay!

    /ironhorse’d

  11. Hey ZZ says:

    I feel like Gardner can be a good CF. But, I feel like he can be a great pinch runner.

    Sooo, umm, derrr, he is a pinch runner, and he’s there to stay. Period.

    /Eiland’d

  12. mustang says:

    This Is Your Brain:
    2009 Brett Gardner- .270/3/23 with 26 SB

    This your brain on drugs:
    “But Gardy could do what Kenny Lofton did”

    Get the picture.

  13. Booey says:

    Yanks will be fine with Gardner in LF. With his speed and defense in LF anything he does with the bat in the stacked Yankee lineup is just gravy.

    By the way. There is one opening in the 4th RAB yahoo fantasy baseball league. If you want to join the draft is tonight at 7:30pm.

    League ID: 423467
    Password: loubrown

  14. nyyankeefanforever says:

    Who gives a hoot in hell who he compares to from the distant past? This ain’t your grandpa’s Yankees nor is the game they’re playing the same. Gardner doesn’t have to be anybody but Gardner, and on this monster team that will be plenty. Last season he hit .270 with three home runs — one of them an inside-the-parker — with 23 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 108 games as a platoon player who was playing hurt for half the season; and that’s not to mention his stellar defense and his added burden of covering Damon’s rusty-wheeled ass cheating toward left-center whenever he played. If he plays anything like that this year — and I think we all know he’s improved every year since he started playing pro ball — then I wouldn’t trade him for any other #9 lineup guy in MLB.

    For more Yankee fun, check out the musical comedy vid “Joe’s Job – The Ballad of Terry Francona”
    at

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvVZQnELQ9s

    It’s must-see entertainment for Yankee and Red Suks fans alike! Go Yankees! 28 in 2010!!!

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.