Why Are the New York Yankees So Obsessed With Brett Gardner?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

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.

6 thoughts on “Why Are the New York Yankees So Obsessed With Brett Gardner?”

  1. Yea! It was the stat xwOBA, it uses quality of contact (how hard the ball is hit and whether it was a line drive flyball or grounder) and how often you strike out and walk. It’s in the article and can be found along with other stats like that on Baseball Savant

  2. And is there a stat kept that show the softest, cheapest, infield flyballs hit by supposedly a strong ball player? All we hear is fast, never pushes a bunt, takes advantage of a shift, never steals a base at a critical time. Let him be an important clubhouse veteran presence from the bench!

  3. And paying $$$ Garder 20 times more than Tauchman and Clint Frazier ..
    Frazier should be playing before Garder too

  4. Ryan…What a GREAT article!!!!! I have been saying that for years…. Brett Gardner is the most overated Yankee EVER !!!!! Check his lifetime stats…A leadoff hitter who doesn’t steal bases when they count
    Averages over 100 strike outs a year…Has NO ARM!!!! What’s his lifetime average??? People are going tell me that this guy is good???? Come on folks…Knock off he kool aid. He’s been a Yankee this long because they never had anyone to replace him…. Well now they do !!!!