I don’t care if it’s one or two games, there is literally no statistic that would tell you Brett Gardner is the 3rd or 4th best outfielder on the New York Yankees. I know that Brett Gardner is a lifelong Yankee and trust me I love me some Gardy Parties, but Gardy’s Parties aren’t the most productive parties.
When you break down the Yankees’ outfield depth chart, you find that starting Brett Gardner doesn’t do anything but hurt a lineup that is a huge part of this team’s identity.
Statistically Inferior To Mike Tauchman
There is quite literally nothing other than the speed that Mike Tauchman doesn’t do better than Brett Gardner. They are both left-handed outfielders who can play any position in the outfield. Let’s look at their stats and see what the numbers tell us about the two:
Mike Tauchman in 2019:
.361 OBP .504 SLG .322 xwOBA 9 OAA 128 wRC+
Brett Gardner in 2019:
.325 OBP .503 SLG .299 xwOBA 2 OAA 115 wRC+
The main stat I would like to highlight is xwOBA (Expected Weighted On Base Average). This stat (when compared to wOBA) can show the sustainability of success, and while both Gardy and Tauchman over-performed their xwOBA, Tauchman’s regression to the mean will be less harsh than Gardner’s. Assuming Tauchman’s slugging gets worst (as shown by a .410 xSLG) I would assume he’d be around .430 for his SLG but still have a .360-.370 OBP, which would make him still a better hitter than Brett Gardner.
There’s also still defense, which is an outfield with Hicks and Judge can make extra-base hits hard to come by for opposing offenses.
Regression To The Mean is Due
Gardner’s regression from 2017 to 2018 was due to him just losing his power stroke and struggling to get extra-base hits. He did get better in 2019 but his expected stats didn’t see an improvement, which leads me to believe he’s going to get worse. When you have an aging player who’s regression is due, wouldn’t you think someone in the analytical department would say something?.
As much as we may like the traditional game, advanced metrics are what the Yankees use for everything related to team building. The New York Yankees see, to be obsessed with Gardner, an obsession they don’t have with any other player on the Yankees at ALL. This is what frustrates me and probably frustrates a lot of Yankee fans who love Gardner but also recognize that the Yankees have better in-house options to start.