Gardner or Cabrera:The battle for Centerfield
Center Field for the Yankees has always been one of the most respected positions in sports. Baseball legends like Bernie Williams and Joe DiMaggio have settled in the area, making diving catches and winning world series titles.
Today we stand where Joe Girardi has an incredibly tough decision to make. He has to pick between two very decent players: the speedy Brett Gardner and the clutch bat of Melky Cabrera. They have both served the team well in their own positive way.
Case: Melky has shown some power hitting 8 home runs in 71 games. He has hit .287 with an OPS of .800. He has shown much more power than Gardner.
He has also presented himself as a very clutch player. With the bases loaded he has hit .364. Also, in the 6th inning or later he has put together a solid average of .318. In May, Cabrera earned the Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Month of May. He has 3 walk-off hits this year, including a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 13th on April 22nd.
Bottom Line: Although Cabrera is young he hasn't showed much speed on the base paths only stealing 5 bases. His OBP is pretty good at .346, but 21 points lower than Gardner's. Overall, he has proven himself as a good hitter, decent fielder, and clutch performer.
Case: Brett Gardner has proven himself to be one of the fastest players in the league stealing 17 bases which is fifth in the league. Every single player in the AL with more stolen bases than him has at least 100 more at-bats. Also, one May 15 against the Minnesota Twins, he hit an inside-the-park home run. He is hitting .289 with already four triples. His speed is a defense's worst nightmare.
Bottom Line: Gardner's speed makes him a good fielder. Whenever Gardner reaches base, he is a threat to steal and score from first on a double and from second on a single without any problem. However, he has only hit three home runs out of the park, so his power is questionable.