Cano Isnt The Only Success Story For The Yanks: Brett Gardner Is The Key

Ron Johnson@ron_johnson7Contributor IJune 9, 2010

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 25, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Why is nobody talking about Brett Gardner?

He is rarely mentioned as one of the top outfielders in the game, yet he has an above .300 average, and close to .400 OBP, and he has 20 SB!

On Yahoo, he is ranked as the 7th best OF in mixed leagues, yet is only 81% owned, and only 59% started (as of today's game).

He can be overshadowed by the tremendous start that Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano have had.  But as a player that wasn't even guaranteed to be a starter at the beginning of last off-season, he has surely impressed.

I am going to start off by stating that I was grossly opposed to trading Melky Cabrera away in the deal for Javier Vazquez.  Cabrera was the future, I thought.

But after a few months, the future with Brett Gardner is looking brighter everyday.

Gardner has been one of the more consistent hitters for the Yankees this season (along with the ridiculous start that Robinson Cano had).  He has been above .300 for all but 14 games this season, only dropping to .289 at any point since April 17th, and he's had an on-base percentage of close to .400 all year.

And when he gets on base, he is the Yankees biggest threat to steal.  He is 20 of 24 on the year, and only trails Juan Pierre and Rajai Davis for the American League lead in stolen bases, with 23 a piece.

Gardner is a piece that the Yankees need to repeat as champions this fall.  

From the 9 spot, Gardner gives RBI opportunities to Jeter, Swisher, and Teixeira.  Gardner turns singles, into doubles, with his speed, and he is the guy that can get home from second on a bloop single.

And lets not forget.  The Yankees traded Austin Jackson, a top notch prospect, to the Tigers in a deal for Curtis Granderson, and when Granderson hit the DL, who replaced him? Brett Gardner.

Gardner can play in every outfield position and plays each one well. He only has 1 error from any outfield position and a fielding percentage of .991.

If the Yankees return to the fall classic this season, then Brett Gardner needs to be recognized as a key piece of the Yankee success.