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Brett Gardner, Consistent Slugger

Posted by Steve Lombardi on June 10, 2011

Here are Brett Gardner's career big league stats, to date:

2008 24 42 141 127 18 5 2 0 16 13 1 8 30 .228 .283 .299
2009 25 108 284 248 48 6 6 3 23 26 5 26 40 .270 .345 .379
2010 26 150 569 477 97 20 7 5 47 47 9 79 101 .277 .383 .379
2011 27 59 197 169 27 6 3 3 14 11 7 21 37 .254 .339 .379
4 Seasons 359 1191 1021 190 37 18 11 100 97 22 134 208 .265 .355 .369
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2011.


Note his Slugging Percentage the last three seasons. Pretty consistent, huh?

41 Responses to “Brett Gardner, Consistent Slugger”

  1. Doug Says:

    Or, consistently not a slugger.

  2. camisadelgolf Says:

    Since he's on my fantasy team, it'd be nice if he were a more consistent base stealer. He'll need to be successful in 36 of his next 38 attempts to match last year's production. I just don't see it happening unfortunately.

  3. Steve Lombardi Says:

    LOL Doug. Yeah, I should have said that or put quotes around "slugger."

  4. kenh Says:

    I wonder how fast he is from home to first and how he compares to others present and past. He is the fastest I have seen.

  5. Steve Lombardi Says:

    Many say Mantle, before he blew out his knee, was the fastest ever HP to 1B.

    Ken Griffey Sr., as a young man, was pretty fast too. IIRC, when the Big Red Machine was in its prime, he used to rack up a lot of infield hits.

  6. John Q Says:

    I read an article about Gardner before the season started saying how the Yankees got him to switch his approach by having him see less pitches and instead have him be more aggressive and try to hit for more power.

    This new approach just seemed asinine to me. The guy had a .383 on base percentage last year and they wanted to screw around with that? Needless to say he struggled with this new approach in April. He's miscast as a left fielder in the new Yankee stadium. He needs to be playing centerfield in a pitcher's park and batting lead-off.

  7. Steve Lombardi Says:

    I also want to say that Bake McBride and Ralph Garr were quick HP to 1B as well. But, that could be my mind playing tricks on me.

  8. Cheese Says:

    Willy Tavares clocked at 3.56 and he is a right handed batter!
    Pretty damn fast

  9. Cheese Says:

    Although I've read Mantle was 3.1 (presumably left-handed). That seems ridiculous.

  10. howard rosen Says:

    @6..JohnQ, can you link that article or remember who wrote it? I think someone was pulling the writer's leg.

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mantle never went home to first in 3.1.

  12. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @11/Twisto Says: "Mantle never went home to first in 3.1. ..."

    Yes, that seems about as likely as the 634-foot HR he supposedly hit in 1951 spring training against USC, which was also discussed in that blog post you linked above.

    After last year, I thought that Gardner could be a Jacoby Ellbury-type player, with a little less average and power. This year, though, he's just not on that same level.

  13. basmati Says:

    @8, interesting article. I'd like to know how Peter Bourjos compares, he's the fastest guy I've seen.

  14. topper009 Says:

    This reminds me of Vinny Castilla

    1996: .304/ 40 HR/ 113 RBI
    1997: .304/ 40 HR/ 113 RBI

  15. Daniel Says:

    Willie Wilson in his youth was blinding fast. Another super speedster who wasn't as good a player was Miguel Dilone. He could absolutely fly out of the box, and in one magical year, 1980, hit 341. Of course, that was his only career marker. His career war was a grand .3. But he could pick em up and put em down. He or Willie Wilson were the fastest I have seen, each a full step faster home to first than Gardner.

  16. Chuck Says:

    This may be the only place on the 'net where you can find "Brett Gardner" and "slugger" in the same sentence.

  17. Cheese Says:

    @16: haha, nice:

    2nd link 'Brett Gardner and pink Louisville slugger bat!

  18. Doug Says:


    Or Fred Lynn's home run totals. Even the '87 offensive explosion couldn't upset Mr. Consistency.

    1982 CAL AL 21
    1983 CAL AL 22
    1984 CAL AL 23
    1985 BAL AL 23
    1986 BAL AL 23
    1987 BAL AL 23
    1988 TOT AL 25

  19. Chuck Says:

    Johnny @#11,

    Neither your comment here or in the link provided offers anything other than "I said so."

    In his bio written by Robert W. Creamer, Casey Stengel recalls timing Mantle from home to first during a drag bunt drill in 3.1 seconds during spring training in 1951 using his watch.

    In his official bio on the SABR website, the same reference with the same time is made regarding Vada Pinson..3.1 seconds to first on a drag bunt timed with a watch.

    Obviously, a wrist watch isn't a recognized timing method (except by your boss, perhaps), but to say there's no support of the incident is off-base.

    Should the times be taken with a grain of salt?


    But I'll certainly take the word of someone who witnessed it over the speculations a blog commenter who never saw Mantle play anywhere other than ESPN Classic.

  20. topper009 Says:

    @18 or Adam Dunn's homers

    2005 CIN 40
    2006 CIN 40
    2007 CIN 40
    2008 CIN/AZ 40
    2009 WAS 38
    2010 WAS 38

  21. Cheese Says:

    or Mark Reynolds strikeouts 🙂

  22. Luis Gomez Says:

    That was the first thing I thought when I saw the slugging marks from Gardner. We (baseball people in Mexico) always felt Vinny was underrated in MLB (I know, Coors Field, Minute maid Park, et al) but he could hit anybodys fastball any day of the week. I hope he gets some HOF votes next year.

  23. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Chuck, do you believe Mantle was substantially faster than Usain Bolt? That's ludicrous.

    Not one of the great 100-meter runners has sprinted the first 30 meters (32.8 yards) in less than 3.75 seconds. That would be 3.42 seconds for 30 yards (actually a bit more, because the runners are still accelerating, but regardless...). That's with starting blocks and a specially designed track.

    I didn't say there's no support of the Mantle incident. I'm saying he was incapable of sprinting 30 yards in 3.1 seconds (in a flannel uniform on a dirt field, no less). I have no idea how Mantle was timed. When did the clock start? How far up the line was he? I believe Mantle was extremely fast, and I believe he was timed doing something in 3.1 seconds. I don't believe that measurement was taken in a manner at all consistent with those which give us our frame of reference for speed. So the number is essentially meaningless.

  24. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Moreover, while I recognize that Mantle had to go less than 30 yards, starting from the left-handed batter's box, look at the times cited in the link at #8. 3.8, 3.9, 4.0. Was Mantle *substantially* faster than all those guys too? Of course, we don't know exactly when the clock was started and stopped on them either, and that's the point.

  25. Neil L. Says:


    The measurer's reaction time on the stopwatch would be a significant portion of the total time for Mantle's supposed 3.10 s run to first base.

    I gotta side with Johnny Twisto on this one. The pure physics of the situation say it is impossible.

    But it does add to the Mantle legend so it will be believed!

  26. BGM Says:

    I bet Willie Mays Hayes could run from home to first in 3.1 seconds!!!

  27. John Q Says:

    @10 Howard Rosen,

    It was in a article in the Newark Star Ledger from April 22, 2011 by Marc Craig. I think it was Gardner who took it upon himself to be more aggressive and try to hit for more power.

    These are some of the quotes:

    About his patience at the plate in 2010: “Big deal,” Gardner said of what had become his trademark patience at the plate. “What is that going to get me?”

    “He has expanded and he has swung at pitches that I’ve never seen him swing at, which tends to tell me that he’s not comfortable up there and he’s starting to feel for his swing,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “He’s picked times this year to be more aggressive.”

  28. Neil L. Says:

    Luis, thanks for weighing in from Mexico.

    John Q., agreed that Brett Gardner should bat lead off for the Yankees, but can they live with a 0.379 slugging percentage?

    Ricky Henderson, he ain't!

  29. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I may have posted this before, but last year Gardner saw more pitches per PA than anyone in the 20+ years for which we have fairly complete data. Since average pitches/PA have been rising over that time, and the Dodger games for which we have data in the '60s indicate a still lower average, I wouldn't be surprised if Gardner saw more pitches/PA than any player in history (since 4 balls and 3 strikes were settled on). His pitch average is lower this season, but last time I checked more than half his strikeouts were on called strikes (highest in the league), so I'd say he could still stand to be more aggressive in certain situations.

  30. Bastaducci Says:

    @ 15

    I remember watching Willie Wilson and Kirk Gibson race at Tiger stadium and Gibby winning both times. the 1st time was from home to 1st and the 2nd time was from home all the way back around.

    That being said Gibby had a much more full swing and there is no doubt Wilson would of beat him in a game circumstance. the fastest I seen from home to 1st in a game circumstance I think was Vince Coleman.

  31. John Autin Says:

    @28, Neil L. -- I'm sure the Yankees could muddle through with a .379 SLG from Gardner in the leadoff spot. They're only getting a .328 mark from their current leadoff man.

  32. Richard Chester Says:

    Just for the record the fastest timed run around the bases was 13.3 seconds by a player named Evar Swanson in 1929.

  33. John Q Says:

    @29 Twisto,

    Valid point but I'm still believe if it's not broke don't try to fix it. Gardner had on On-Base Percentage of .383 last season which was good for 8th in the AL. His new Aggressive approach gave him a line of .188/.273/.391 on April 30th.

    It seems like he's been more patient at the plate and he's seeing more pitches since April. He's at 4.2 pitches per plate appearance now which is about his career average.

    Neil L,

    Slugging percentage is somewhat irrelevant at the lead-off spot. Optimally you would want to put the player with the highest on base percentage in that spot. The Yankees are a little bit odd because their two big sluggers, A-Rod & Tex, have the highest on base percentage on the team.

    The Yankees offensive success this year seems to come entirely from the HR. They don't have one starter with a BA over .277 this year or a starter with an on-base over .360 yet they're third in the AL in runs scored. They don't have one batter in the top 34 in batting average and they don't have one batter in the top 22 in on-base percentage. But they do have 4 players in the top 16 in Slugging Percentage.

  34. Carl Says:

    In the "consistency" line, Albert Pujols, his first 5 years, had 590, 590, 591, 592 and 591 plate appearances, thus making this the first thread in history to mention both Brett Gardner and Alberty Pujols in the same sentance.

  35. howard rosen Says:

    I don't think anyone was more consistent than Eddie Murray, He had two seasons in which he had 174 hits in 610 ABs with 27 HRs that came fifteen years apart.

    JohnQ, thanks for the link. I'm glad to see it was Gardner himself and not the Yankees that wanted to change his approach because it's a bad idea. I'm surprised that he tried to change his approach though. I'm guessing he felt like he wasn't getting enough respect.

  36. Ed Says:

    I think Al Sharpton was clocked in 2.9 seconds over 90 feet when he saw a TV camera....

  37. Chuck Says:

    Johnny @#23..

    Not at all.


    Agree; Mantle (and Pinson) were fast, but the timing mechanism and the human involvement most definitely altered the result.

    Luis @#22

    Steriods, mi amigo, steriods.


    Lets understand that while Brett Gardner is attempting a change to his way of hitting, pitchers are also adjusting to him. Gardner is a very limited offensive player, if pitchers take away his strengths he has little or no way to compensate.

    In most cases, the ability to see alot of pitches is a skill, in Gardner I see it as a fear of swinging, he's like that kid in Little League who always looked to walk because he knew he couldn't hit whomever it was on the mound.

    Whatever it is he's doing, it ain't working, if he's not careful he could find himself working on his approach in Scranton.

  38. Daniel Says:

    # 37:

    That's a little harsh I think. He has struggled, yet he has an OPS + of 97 and is a GREAT leftfielder, as good as Crawford or anyone else in the game. Don't take my word for it, check out his Dwar. Maybe last year was his upside, but he was a very solid player in '10 with a 5.2 WAR.

    One other note. I'm a Yankee fan, and with tivo I watch an awful lot of Yankee games, skipping through dull parts. I thought he had lost a full step in speed up until last night. My "baseball clock" would say that an infield grounder he hit would be bang bang at first and he'd be out by over a step. Yesterday, for the first time, he was faster than my baseball clock said he would be. I was wondering if he had minor nagging injuries slowing him down. Now I'm pretty convinced he did. Let's see how he plays in coming weeks.

  39. Fireworks Says:

    You can't just look at Gardner's season last year and say he shouldn't change his approach. He does strike out a lot looking for someone with slap-power and given his speed and ability to beat out infield singles as well as pressure fielders into errors you do want him to find the right balance between putting 3-2 pitches in play and watching strike three sail past.

    I've been watching him his whole career with the Yankees and sometimes he takes too many pitches or his swing is just off--his 'new approach' has nothing to do with it. When he first came up teams had the book on him (that he was patient) and he was down 0-2 seemingly every AB and didn't fair all that well.

    I like that he's still trying to improve, maybe put a little more gap power into his game, because while his '10 season was nice overall it's not guaranteed to keep him on the Yankees roster and I doubt he just wants to lead-off for some moribund NL team playing in a pitcher's park (as well as that he hasn't been good during his career leading off--.689 OPS.).

    Oh, and in case none of the previous paragraphs were persuasive, the reality is this year he's had a bad April--.188 .273 .391 .664, but May (.301 .379 .373 .752) and June so far (.318 .400 .409 .809) he picked it up. Yankees fans that have been paying attention to the stats had Gardner, Jeter, Swisher, and Posada digging the same hole in April, but Gardner had long since ceased to be in the same league of mediocrity, especially since league OPS is down again this year.

  40. statboy Says:

    FWIW, there's a good example of Mantle's speed at the 0:33 mark in this video. He hits a grounder to 2nd base (as a righty) and beats it out (or so says the ump).

  41. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Johnny @#23..

    Not at all.

    I have no idea what this means.