The King of Clutch. The Heartbeat of the Bronx. Brett Gardner has been everything to the 2017 New York Yankees and these stats prove it.Whether you’re a fan or not, you have to admit that the New York Yankees would be nothing this season without Brett Gardner in the lineup.
No, he’s not having an MVP-caliber season. He isn’t the youthful, spry young stud that fans expect to constantly produce in every big spot. That’s not him. But he’s still the most important player on this year’s squad.
Trade rumors have hung over his head for seasons now but he still remains a New York Yankees. Now, the Yankees and their fans see exactly why. He’s a hard-working leader who has proven to be a huge reason why the Yankees are in first place in the American League East.
All we discuss are his awesome ninth and extra-inning home runs that have propelled the Bombers to victory, but there is so much more going on when it comes to Gardner and his clutch gene.
Take a look at these stellar stats from this season’s sparkplug and see for yourself just how great the 33-year-old has been in the Bronx.
1. Leading off the game
Brett Gardner is a leadoff hitter. There’s absolutely no denying that. No matter what ridiculous comments the naysayers make, the stats speak for themselves.
Gardner has had 76 at-bats to lead off games this season. In those 76 at-bats, he has posted a .342/.438/.592 line, including crushing four leadoff home runs to get the Yankees up early and often.
He has also drawn 13 walks from that position while only striking out eight times. Gardner is getting on base to make things happen, which is something the Yankees had been missing the last two seasons.
So, Brett Gardner isn’t a leadoff hitter? He’s proving everyone wrong this year. He is getting the Yankees started early and getting a good look at starting pitchers to make things happen for the Yankees. And boy, has it been fun to watch.
2. Bases loaded
Brett Gardner has only been up six times this season with the bases loaded. However small that sample size may be, some players only get up once or twice in a full season with the bases juiced.
In those six at-bats, Gardner has compiled four hits, driving in eight runs for a .667 batting average. One grand slam is also on his resume from a 13-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
Two of those four hits have also come with two outs in the inning. Those two-out at-bats drove in six of his eight runs with the bases loaded.
Gardner has dominated whenever he gets a shot at driving in runs with the bases loaded. While he’s done pretty well during his entire career, this season he has seemed to flip the switch when it comes to his approach at the plate with the bases juiced.
Small sample size? Sure. But Gardner has impressed nonetheless.
3. Tie Games
When the game is tied, that’s when Brett Gardner truly shines.
Gardner has 37 hits in 118 at-bats when the game is tied, resulting in a stellar .314 batting average. Gardner has also crushed seven home runs when the game is tied to give the Yankees the lead.
Let’s stop to think about that. We know that Gardner’s home runs have come at clutch times. 39 percent of his home runs have come when the game is tied. Oh, and three of his 13 stolen bases this season have come when the game is tied.
He has certainly come through, especially recently, but I don’t think many of us have realized exactly how he’s done in a tie game situation.
After all, we saw his walk-off blast last week. That’s just one of the many home runs he’s crushed when the game is on the line.
4. BA Against Current First-Place Teams
When the going gets tough, the Gardner gets going. Brett Gardner has found a way to get hot against the right teams at the right times.
At the moment, the Yankees have only played against two teams that are currently in first place. However, against those teams, he has completely dominated.
In 28 at-bats against the dominating Houston Astros, Gardner has posted a .429/.452/.750 line with two home runs. In 15 at-bats against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs, Gardner posted a .357 batting average including his clutch ninth inning blast to lift the Yankees to victory back in May.
These teams are examples of the best of the best and Gardner just proved that he can hang with them. He has yet to face other first-place teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians, but I have no doubt that he would do the same against them.
5. 16-0 when Gardner Homers
Ah, the typical home run stat. But let’s be honest, this is pretty incredible.
Gardner has hit a career-high 18 home runs so far this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. The team is 16-0 when Gardy goes Yardy.
He entered the season not being known for power. Now, he has the second-most home runs on the team this season, behind only the juggernaut in Aaron Judge. If you predicted that at the beginning of the season, you’re definitely lying.
But Gardner’s home runs have done something to spark the team. It’s no coincidence that the Yankees are undefeated every time he goes yard. His home runs spark that offense and sometimes, he does it all himself.
Pretty amazing from a guy who people were begging to get traded to make room for the young studs. He may not be young…but he’s still making a huge difference for this squad.
With the game (or possibly the season) on the line, there’s no one else you’d rather have at the plate than this guy. Brett Gardner has proven time and time again that he wants this job with the Yankees and he’s not ready to go down without a fight.
Like I said before, he isn’t an MVP. But he sure as hell seems to be the spark that is keeping the Yankees afloat during an up-and-down season.