I can't explain it.
There are many Yankees that will trump Brett Gardner's numbers this year. He's going to hit less than 10 home runs and not have many RBI.
Yet I can't think of a single player I'm more excited to see this year than him.
Of course I can't wait to see what CC, Teixeira, Wang and Joba are going to do.
There is more hope to this season than there has been in a while. The team is younger, more dynamic and will have much better chemistry than recent Yankees' teams.
I can see Gardner hitting .315 with 50+ stolen bases.
I know probably 75 percent of people disagree with me.
"Can see" and actually happening are very different. First, Gardner needs to win the starting job over Melky Cabrera over the next few weeks.
I love Cabrera's arm.
Unfortunately it might be the only reason there's still a question as to who will open the new stadium in center.
I think we have come close to seeing Cabrera's ceiling and it's just not enough.
Of course, most of this is nothing more than a hunch.
Gardner dominated his final year in college (as thousands of players from D-I to D-3 do every year) and has had a good average and on base percentage in the minors.
The only stats I could, with good conscience, use to support my psychic hunch are his stats the second time he was called up to the Bronx.
He hit .294 and looked a lot more comfortable at the plate. Then again, I still have the "don't fall in love with a rookie at the end of the season" rule in the back of my mind as well.
His speed is obviously his biggest asset.
He's a threat to steal anytime he's on the bases and Girardi can't wait to use him. It will bring a new weapon to the team that hasn't been seen in years.
At the least, he will be a solid defensive replacement when needed, and can be the automatic pinch runner late in close games.
At most, he will compete with Damon for the lead-off spot in the lineup and lead the American League in stolen bases.
Most likely he will wind up somewhere in the middle. An everyday player solidly in the nine spot with dozens of stolen bases.
Here's to picking him with my last draft pick on my three fantasy teams.