Does Wear And Tear Affect Brett Gardner?

After watching Brett Gardner play since 2008, there is one thing that Yankee fans have noticed: Brett Gardner plays nitty gritty baseball. Gardner tends to somehow end up on the ground in every game, whether he is on the base paths or if he is in the outfield. Also if there was something that Yankee fans noticed during the 2010 & 2011 season was that Gardner saw more playing time as the starting LF. But the more that I have observed Gardner, I noticed that during the end of the year, Gardner tends to slow down and show fatigue. Obviously every player experiences fatigue but I get the feeling that the number of games + the way Gardner plays baseball might be the reason that his fatigue might be more obvious than other players.

In 2011, Gardner was able to erase the horrid start he had…from May to July at least. Here are Gardner’s numbers from May-July:

May: .301 AVG, .379 OBP, .373 SLG

June: .317 AVG, .404 OBP, .463 SLG

July: .289 AVG, .361 OBP, .371 SLG

Now let’s take a look at Gardner’s #’s from August & September (be warned, they aren’t pretty):

August: .226 AVG, .303 OBP, .292 SLG

September: .219 AVG, .345 OBP, .342 SLG

In my opinion I get the feeling that Gardner gets fatigued is because of 2 reasons. One of them may be of the way he naturally plays baseball. Like I said, there isn’t a day that his uniform comes back clean due to all the sliding he does on the base paths & in the outfield. Also it may be the fact that the Yankees have Gardner playing in LF almost every single day. In 2010, Gardner played in 150 games and had a .277 batting average over all. Joe Girardi decided to amp it up in 2011 by allowing Gardner to play in 159 games. His overall average was a dismal .259.

The solution here would to get Gardner more rest. I’m not saying to cut his playing time down significantly, but I am saying to maybe let Gardner get 145-150 starts this season and allow Jones to play LF when Gardner sits out. Sometimes players need a day off to prepare themselves mentally & physically and like batteries, players need to recharge if they feel as if they are running out of energy. I’m not saying Gardner will all of a sudden turn into an All-Star left fielder all around, but I am saying that his numbers will improve slightly if we give him just a little less playing time so he can get the rest that he needs.

I’ll leave you with this thought: How do you think you’re favorite player (doesn’t matter which sport) would perform if they were constantly being used in every game?  Wouldn’t their numbers go down as well?

About Delia E.

Delia Enriquez is the managing editor of Yankees Fans Unite. She enjoys analyzing the New York Yankees whether it be their pitching, roster or their manager. You can follow her on twitter @dfiregirl4 for more tweets, analysis and opinion on the Yankees.

Posted on February 27, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Unfortunately, this is becoming a trend with Brett and when you look at the last 3 years, it is even more glaring. He did have issues with his wrist in the 2nd halfs of 2009 & 2010 to explain some of the drop off but he was healthy in 2011 and still saw a swoon.

    Gardner’s April’s have been a mixed bag but one thing is certain is he has hit the ball great in the months of May & June, never once dropping below a .286 batting average in his career.

    His career numbers per month show a player who starts to fade in the 2nd half:

    April .244/.310/.352/.662
    May .300/.382/.409/.791
    June .337/.429/.483/.911
    July .232/.332/.314/.646
    Aug .243/.335/.320/.655
    Sept .242/.336/.349/.685

    Joe G. needs to check his binder and try to keep an eye on Gardner giving him needed days off throughout the year. His style of play requires it more than any other noncatcher on the team.

    • Good post Delia and reply Fishjam…
      I do believe Brett should take a break every so often, maybe against real bad leftys.
      The more I think about it, the more I agree with you Fishjam. I think siting Jeter against tough rightys is a good idea also…Six to 12 hits per year can well be the different between ,275 and .300. The same for Brett!

    • Good point fishjam, as usual your facts make your point. Gardner needs more rest and I think the Yanks agree with you. They already told Jones they expect him to play more this year and he has come into camp in better shape. I would be interested to know Gardner’s splits for his career and not just last year to make my opionion complete.

  2. Good article. I agree, Gardner needs to get a little more time off. He still can go out there and play LF a lot, but every now and then just like everyone else he needs a breather. So we’ll see what happens. I am hoping Brett has a really good yr, especially the 1st half maybe be an All-Star:)

  3. Fishjam and Ballpark…
    I have a good question for you and anyone else that would like to take a shot at this; We have a very good 2nd baseman, SS and 3rd, in the minors, in fact more then one in each position.
    I believe around 2013-14 we need new blood in those position. Cano could move to 3rd base (I think he should), Nunez at 2nd or SS, after that the question becomes…which Rookie is as good or better than the player in that position?

  4. My only thought is regarding Delia’s last paragraph. I believe most ALL of our favorite players are constantly used in every game or at least nearly regardless of the sport. yes I know its a long grind. Not positive but I think history would bear out the “long’ grind from the past even without the conveniences of today and yes they did play.

    • Agreed John. Most players in their prime can play 155+ games without losing much. Brett isn’t one of those guys. He plays all out on offense and defense and it takes a toll on him. Knowing this to be the case I think Girardi should be smart and monitor him during the year.

      The Yanks most durable player is Cano. Look at the difference between him and BG. It almost looks like Cano isn’t even trying much of the time. He’s so smooth and makes it look easy.

      BG, on the other hand, is constantly sprinting, diving, stealing, etc. Every Plate Appearance is a grind with Brett. He lead MLB in pitches per PA in 2010 and was 7th in 2011. Everytime he’s on base he takes big leads and has to dive back to 1st several times. He led the AL in SBs and SBs attempted in 2011 and he dove head first every time.

      He just plays max effort at all times and so much of his worth is tied to hid legs and running. So IMO he needs more rest then your typical player or his August and September troubles will continue.

      • OK Fish, I concede. His MO says he is full out and that is good so lets give him those days off. I guess Pete Rose is an exception and the few like him. Many would just end up on the DL and that is something to be avoided. Thanks

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