Brett Gardner
Brett Gardner
35-Year-Old OutfielderOF
New York Yankees
2019 Fantasy Outlook
For the fourth time in five seasons, Gardner supplied double-digit home runs and steals and scored more than 85 runs, but his fantasy utility took a dip due to a .236 average, his worst showing in his 11 MLB seasons. While it's easy to place blame on a BABIP that was nearly 40 points below his career mark, Statcast credited Gardner with a .218 xBA, with the decline in his quality of contact suggesting he was fortunate his average was as high as it was. Gardner's struggles resulted in him ceding work to Andrew McCutchen in the playoffs, but the 35-year-old should reclaim at least a strong-side platoon role in left field to begin the upcoming campaign. For a player his age, Gardner has been remarkably durable and hasn't lost a step -- he ranked in the 92nd percentile last season in Statcast Sprint Speed -- but his slide at the dish puts him at serious risk of losing plate appearances in 2019 and forfeiting his familiar leadoff role when he starts. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract with the Yankees in October of 2018.
Likely to open season in center
OFNew York Yankees
March 17, 2019
Gardner is expected to serve as the Yankees' everyday center fielder to begin the season with Aaron Hicks (back) ruled out for Opening Day, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports.
Gardner had been battling Clint Frazier for the top gig in left field, but the injury to Hicks should afford the 35-year-old some more job security, at least for the first handful of games. Frazier is still expected to break camp with the big club as a fourth outfielder, with Giancarlo Stanton likely being plugged in as the primary left fielder while the Yankees rotate a number of players at designated hitter. Hicks' absence will also create a vacancy at the top of the order that Gardner will likely be asked to fill, which should help prop up the latter's run-scoring and baserunning opportunities early on.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .622 525 47 7 32 3 .233 .308 .315
Since 2016vs Right .769 1400 224 33 117 52 .263 .354 .415
2018vs Left .628 154 16 3 8 0 .239 .309 .319
2018vs Right .712 455 79 9 37 16 .235 .327 .385
2017vs Left .590 169 13 2 12 0 .209 .299 .291
2017vs Right .840 513 83 19 51 23 .283 .367 .473
2016vs Left .645 202 18 2 12 3 .247 .313 .331
2016vs Right .745 432 62 5 29 13 .268 .368 .377
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS at Home
Since 2016Home .752 920 133 21 66 30 .265 .357 .395
Since 2016Away .708 1005 138 19 83 25 .245 .327 .380
2018Home .680 295 47 5 19 6 .241 .332 .348
2018Away .699 314 48 7 26 10 .231 .313 .386
2017Home .822 316 44 11 26 16 .271 .372 .450
2017Away .741 366 52 10 37 7 .258 .332 .409
2016Home .750 309 42 5 21 8 .280 .366 .384
2016Away .677 325 38 2 20 8 .244 .336 .341
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Stat Review
How does Brett Gardner compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Gardner set a new career high in home runs last season, tripling his total from 2016, while also swiping 20-plus bags for the seventh time in 10 MLB seasons. He exceeded 600 plate appearances for the fifth consecutive season, continuing his run of great health. The bad news: Gardner struggled in a major way against left-handed pitching (.209/.299/.291) and his .322 overall xwOBA was pretty much middle-of-the-pack, according to Statcast. Most indicators point to Gardner being largely the same player he's been for years, but if you subscribe to the "new ball" theory, something close to this level of power should be sustainable. Playing half his games at new Yankee Stadium helps in that regard. He figures to continue on as the Yankees' near-everyday leadoff hitter in 2018.
A brutal month of May had Gardner flirting with the Mendoza Line through two months into the season, but the 33-year-old was able to recover and finish the season with reasonable numbers. After a surprise boost in power the last two seasons, the left fielder reverted back to more of his contact-hitting ways and totaled just seven home runs. Gardner also only stole 16 bases, representing a third straight year of decline in that department. On the plus side, he continued to demonstrate a terrific eye and posted a 0.66 BB/K that helped contribute to a .351 OBP. That, along with Jacoby Ellsbury's struggles, led manager Joe Girardi to move Gardner to the leadoff spot for the majority of the year -- a spot where he actually drove in more runs than when hitting second. As he's set to return as the starter in left field; expect more of the same.
Gardner built on a strong 2014 campaign by getting off to an even better start in 2015, slashing .302/.377/.484 with 10 homers and 15 steals in the first half en route to earning his first All-Star selection. The bottom fell out after the All-Star break though, as the 32-year-old was among the worst qualifying batters, hitting just .206 the rest of the way while losing the speed element of his game. The second half decline would be concerning anyway, but after hitting just .218 with a dip in stolen bases after the break in 2014 also, manager Joe Girardi expressed his fear that Gardner may be burning himself out in the beginning of the season. The end result had the lefty putting up a career-low 20 steals and another sub-.260 batting average, but his power remained — finishing just one homer shy of his career high. Gardner will return as the everyday left fielder and number two hitter.
In many ways, Gardner's 2014 was a carbon copy of his 2013, but fantasy owners were pleased with the one major difference – power. With 23 career home runs through his first 2,200 big league plate appearances, Gardner never flashed signs of being a threat to hit double-digit home runs. Last season, he racked up 17 long balls, a total that exceeded his previous two healthy seasons combined. Upon further review, it's easy to bet against a repeat. Seven of those home runs were of the "Just Enough" variety, and not surprisingly, his HR/FB rate soared from 5.7% in 2013 to 11.0% last season (career 6.5%). There is a stable skill set here that can generate 80-plus runs and 20-plus steals with relative ease, but don't pay for a line from Gardner that will require double-digit home runs to be profitable.
Gardner had an oddly disappointing fantasy season in 2013. His .277 average was consistent with what he's shown since his initial emergence in 2009, and he set a career high in home runs with eight, but Gardner produced just 24 steals, roughly half his total from each of his 2010 and 2011 seasons. He didn't seem to lose anything from a speed standpoint, and it's unclear whether he was conserving himself in an attempt to avoid the injuries that plagued him in 2012, or if there was a philosophical change about his basestealing. Gardner remains an elite defensive player, and seems likely to retain his playing time in the Yankees' outfield, but there are questions as to whether he will rebound back to a 40-steal level.
Fantasy owners who were counting on Gardner to be their major source of speed were sorely disappointed in 2012, as he missed the bulk of the season with an elbow injury that he aggravated repeatedly just as he seemed to be on the verge of returning. Gardner comes with some risk, as he didn't really have the playing time to show that his swing had recovered from the injury, but he still has the patience and speed that made him such a valuable contributor during his last three healthy seasons (2009-11). He could come at a bargain in 2013 drafts as a result of last season's missed time.
Gardner gives fantasy owners plenty of speed, leading the American League with 49 steals in 2011 after swiping 47 bags in 2010. He's got some shortcomings in his game that limit his value, but his excellent defense in left field should keep him in the lineup even when he slumps offensively. Gardner drove in only 36 runs in 2011, and saw his batting average drop 18 points to .259. Although his contact rate improved to 82 percent, he's unlikely to be an asset in the batting average category given his combination of skills and batted ball profile. Gardner has committed to working with hitting coach Kevin Long to improve his timing, and we saw what working with Long did for Curtis Granderson in 2011, but expect most of his value to come from steals and runs scored again this season.
Some questioned the Yankees' decision to enter 2010 with Gardner as their starting left fielder, but the experiment produced better results than probably even the team expected. Gardner played 150 games, stole 47 bases, was very sound defensively and made up for his lack of power with some impressive plate discipline (13.9 percent walk rate, .383 OBP). With potential Yankee free agent target Carl Crawford now in Boston, Gardner will again be the team's starting left fielder in 2011. You'll need to monitor his recovery from a December wrist surgery, but he's a player on the rise playing in a strong offense.
The Yankees outfield situation is unsettled heading into spring training, leaving Gardner's role uncertain, much like it was heading into last season. He’ll likely have a shot at the center-field job heading into spring training after showing improved plate discipline in 2009, raising his OBP from .283 to .345. The added productivity at the plate gave him more opportunities to flash his best skill – speed – en route to 26 steals in 31 tries. He’d been a dynamite source of steals if given semi-regular playing time, though fantasy owners would have to sacrifice some power numbers to take advantage.
Things seemed to click for Gardner at Triple-A during the first half of 2008, which ultimately resulted in his callup to the Yankees for a look in left and center field down the stretch. Given that Melky Cabrera has seemingly fallen out of favor with the Yankees, Gardner has an opportunity to put himself in the mix for outfield at-bats again with a strong showing in spring training. Between New York and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Gardner stole 50 bases in 60 attempts over 136 combined games, but speed is by far the most valuable aspect of his skill set. With no power to speak of, he'll need to get on base at a much greater clip than the .283 mark he posted last season in order to fully take advantage of his speed, though it's worth noting that his minor league track record suggests potential for some improvement.
More Fantasy News
Belts two homers
OFNew York Yankees
March 3, 2019
Gardner went 2-for-2 with two solo home runs Sunday against Detroit.
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Facing job battle
OFNew York Yankees
February 20, 2019
Gardner will compete for the starting left-field job in spring training with Clint Frazier, Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger reports.
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Chance to claim starting job in spring training
OFNew York Yankees
November 5, 2018
General manager Brian Cashman said Gardner will have a chance to reclaim the starting job in left field during spring training, Brendan Kuty of reports.
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Re-signs with Yankees
OFNew York Yankees
October 31, 2018
Gardner inked a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Yankees for 2019 on Wednesday.
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Bumped to bench by Judge's return
OFNew York Yankees
September 18, 2018
Gardner is not in the lineup Tuesday against Boston.
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