Long: I expect big things from Brett Gardner

Spring Training Game Thread: Home and home
Gaudin catches on with Oakland

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.

Spring Training Game Thread: Home and home
Gaudin catches on with Oakland
  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec. 105

    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

      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.

      • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec. 105

        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

          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.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

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


          • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

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

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

            • YankFanDave

              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

      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.

  • Will

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

    • mustang


  • MikeD

    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.

  • Fanta

    Long is delusional

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      In comparing Gardner to Lofton? Yes. In comparing him to Pierre, absolutely not. Gardner may not hit for as high an average, but he could definitely put up better on base numbers and play good defense, too. Lofton, though, is out of reach. Gardner will never slug .443.

      And, good for long going w/the cross racial comp.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        And, good for Long going w/the cross racial comp.

        This movie’s gonna make House Party look like House Party 2!

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          Or House Party 3!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            SHUT THE F#$% UP!!!

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno
  • Salty Buggah

    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.

    • Salty Buggah

      Heh, just noticed they refer to Phil Coke as Phil Coker in that article.

      • AuntE

        Phillip Coker was BG’s roommate and teammate in college. Read the article right-he’s talking about a game in the Southern Conference.

    • bexarama

      all I saw was blah blah blah blah GRIT blah blah so I agree. ;)

    • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

      If Grit represents the new baseball era, I say..Lift the steroid ban!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    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+)

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      I always thought of Willie Randolph as his best comp. if EVERYTHING went exactly right:


    • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      I’d take Dave Roberts. As the weakest link in a great lineup, if he can OPS+ around 90 with great defense in LF, the Yankees will be just fine.

    • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      You’re dead wrong. The only valid comps are Scott Podsednick and Brett Butler. Those other guys are just different from Gardner, the comp. doesn’t work.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Darin. Erstad.

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          Did you know he was a punter?!

  • YankeesJunkie

    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.

  • Poopy Pants

    He’s more like James Lofton.

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

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

  • dkidd

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


  • Hey ZZ

    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.


    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Haha, IETC.

    • mustang

      just let it go.

      • Hey ZZ

        I’ll never let go

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAeyjvEbI8U (safe)

        • bexarama

          I clicked on the link even though I knew it was gonna be that song. Nooooo whyyyyy

        • mustang

          It’s funny that you picked the song from “TITANIC” because that’s where Joba’s career as a starter is going SINKING fast.

          Sorry couldn’t help it.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            I’m not exactly sure of who or what it is you’re rooting for here…

            • mustang

              Nothing. You know what the whole thing is old I’m going to move on now.

      • whozat

        You’re one of the last people to “just let it go” when you think the front office made a poor decision.

        • mustang

          Please dude find somone else to bother your getting annoying.

  • mustang

    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.

  • Booey

    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

  • nyyankeefanforever

    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”


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