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Brett Gardner

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Brett Gardner
A photo of Brett Gardner.
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Brett M. Gardner (born August 24, 1983 in Holly Hill, South Carolina) is an American Major League Baseball outfielder for the New York Yankees.

Gardner, who is 5' 10", plays center field and bats and throws left-handed. In 2007, he was the 10th rated prospect in the Yankees minor league system according to Baseball America.[1]

CollegeEdit

Gardner was a walk-on and three-year starter at the College of Charleston (CoC). In 2004, he was a Southern Conference All Star. His .447 batting average was third in the nation in 2005, and his 122 hits tied for the most hits in the country. His 85 runs in 2005 is the all-time record at CoC, and his 38 stolen bases led the Southern Conference. He wrapped up his Cougar career as a third team All-American and Southern Conference all-star, sporting a .382/.456/.508 career line, mostly from the lead-off spot.

DraftEdit

He was drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 by the Yankees after his junior year, and received a $210,000 bonus.

Minor LeaguesEdit

Gardner adjusted well to wood bats in 2005, and finished the season in the New York-Penn League season ranking 5th in at bats (with 282), 2nd in runs (62), and 5th in stolen bases (19).

He was a Florida State League all star in 2006, batting .323 in 63 games with 22 RBI with the Tampa Yankees. He was 3rd in the Florida State League in batting average, and led the league in stolen bases with 30. Gardner also was second in the league in walks with 47.[2]

In 2007, he played 54 games for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, though he missed time with a broken bone in his hand. In 203 at bats, he stole 18 bases (tied for 5th in the league; while being caught 4 times), hit 5 triples, and batted .300 with a .392 OBP, before being promoted to Scranton/Wilkes Barre. There, in 45 games he batted .260 with a .343 OBP, and stole 21 bases while being caught only 3 times.[3]

Through 2007 in the minor leagues, he has a .288 batting average, .381 obp, and .374 slugging percentage. He has stolen 114 bases, and been caught 22 times.

In the fall of 2007, he played in 26 games in the Arizona Fall League, leading it runs (27) and in stolen bases with 16, while being caught only once. He batted .343 (5th in the league) with a .433 obp (3rd), and was 3rd in the league in walks (17).[4]

Major LeaguesEdit

On June 30, 2008, Gardner was called up and made his major league debut,[5] batting lead-off and going 0 for 3 with a stolen base. On July 2, he got both his first hit and RBI off fellow rookie, Texas Rangers relief pitcher Warner Madrigal, in the seventh inning. Gardner went on to steal second and eventually score in that inning. On July 6, 2008, Gardner started in left field in place of the injured Johnny Damon. In that game, he went 2 for 5, including a two-out, game-winning single up the middle off of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.

On July 26, 2008, Gardner was optioned back to AAA after the acquisition of Xavier Nady, in order to continue to receive playing time.

ToolsEdit

Gardner's legs are his strength. He's the fastest baserunner in the organization,[6] has 80 speed on a 20-80 scale, and has solid baserunning instincts. He's adept at picking spots, knowing when it's more valuable to the team for him to use the threat of a stolen base to get the pitcher to throw fastballs to the heart of the order.

He has outstanding plate discipline, draws a good number of walks, and uses the whole field while making consistent, hard contact. Baseball America rated him as having the best strike zone discipline in the Yankees minor league system after the close of the 2006 season.

His speed and excellent sense in the outfield translate to an outstanding defensive game, among the best in the Yankee farm system. His arm is average, though fairly accurate.

On March 14, 2008, Yankee Manager Joe Girardi said of Gardner: “He’s an exciting player. He creates havoc.”[7]

ReferencesEdit

External LinksEdit

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