He may be the oldest member of the New York Yankees, but outfielder Brett Gardner is ready to make an impact in 2020.
The 36-year-old former third-rounder is back for his 13th year in pinstripes after arguably his best season yet. His average was a bit lower than most years in 2019 but made up for it in the power department. He hit .251 with a career-high 28 home runs and 74 RBIs. His slugging was .503, and his OPS was .829.
There were two significant factors to the increase in power numbers. One is the new age of baseball, and the other is the change in the batting order. Before 2019, Gardner was the leadoff hitter but was dropped to the middle/end of the order. Dropping him gives him more opportunities with RISP, and he would take advantage, especially with the bases loaded. He hit .444 with the bases juiced.
Brett Gardner is expected to start the 2020 season as the centerfielder with Aaron Hicks recovering from Tommy John surgery. Hicks will return to the lineup in June at the earliest, but it will realistically be around the all-star break.
From there, Gardner would either shift to left or the bench dependent on the play of Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Tauchman.
His arm isn’t the greatest, but the Yankees need Gardner to continue to have a solid glove. He still has a little speed, and that helps him both in the field and on the basepaths.
Offensively, it would be great if he could have another season like 2019. If he’s going to hit in the middle of the order, he has to have some power. He needs to have some more consistency throughout the season to continue to see success.
Brett Gardner is an essential piece to the Yankees on the field and in the clubhouse, and the team is expecting another solid season from the veteran outfielder.