The Yankees and the Underrated Outfielder

You can call Brett Gardner anything you want: A mediocre outfielder. A pumped-up teammate. A threat on the bases.

But one thing you can’t leave out when describing Brett Gardner is the word “underrated.”

Think about Gardner…in comparison to American League greats in the outfield, he is far behind in several categories. He is no Mike Trout, that is for certain. But he’s Brett Gardner…he brings a lethal combination of speed and determination to the outfield for the New York Yankees.

Without Brett Gardner, the Yankees wouldn’t be in the position they are in now…a half game out of first place in a tightly-contested pennant race.

And now, being named AL Player of the Week for this past week, he has proven just how valuable he’s been. Gardy’s stats include batting .500 on the week with nine runs, 13 hits and an .885 slugging percentage. His impressive performance raised his batting average by .030 points, from a meager .262 to .292. He’s been a solid lead-off batter that has kept the Yankees in the race for the AL East title.

Of all the players on the Yankees that have been deemed “overrated” throughout the years, Brett Gardner is one of those who has never been in that conversation. A down-to-earth player and teammate, Gardner is a quiet force to be reckoned with in the top of the line-up.

He is underrated, but that works for him. Even when he’s invisible, he is still producing for the Yankees. He gets on base and he makes things happen. Especially with such a streaky offense, it is so important to have runners on base that will make things happen when an offense can’t always produce.

At press time, his batting average is .300. He has swiped 15 bases. He is named #BrettTheJet, for some obvious reasons. Gardner is getting the job done under the radar and this is the first sign that he is being recognized this season for his performance.

Not just offensively, but defensively he has proved his worth. He uses his speed to make plays that are seemingly impossible. With his arm strength also improving, he has shown his asset in the outfield isn’t just limited to his glove.

If you look in the dictionary for the term “underrated,” I guarantee you that Gardy’s face will be right beside it. Because Gardner isn’t only a player that just shows up every day, but he shows up and works to improve and his hard work shows.

Brett Gardner is the ultimate underrated outfielder and that’s exactly what the Yankees want him to be. All-Star or not, Gardner is doing just what he should be to help in the Yankees’ success.

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Image courtesy of zimbio.com

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