In my last story, I admitted to being wrong about Javier Vazquez being an utter failure for the Yankees when he has turned himself around in just a short month.
I am here to admit being wrong about another Yankee, who has stepped up greatly for the Bombers.
In the off season, I had called Brett Gardner nothing more than a fourth outfielder and couldn't be a consistent starter.
I did stories trying to get the Yankees to resign Johnny Damon because of the lack of depth they had for the left field spot.
I also did stories saying that Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth could in fact be Yankees for the 2011 season. My story on Crawford all but guaranteed Crawford being fitted for pinstripes by New Year's Eve.
That was all before the 2010 season.
Now, we are two and a half months into the 2010 season and I am here to say that the Yankees DO NOT need either Crawford or Werth when free agency comes along, because Gardner is playing up to—and even beyond—expectations.
In 2010, Gardner, who had not batted higher than .270, is currently batting .322 for the Yankees (65-for-202). In 2009, he only had 67 hits in 108 games played, so Gardner is hitting much better in the 2010 season as a full-time starter.
Not only is Gardner hitting, but he is also getting extra base hits as well. So far, he's got six doubles, which ties his mark from 2009, and four triples. He also has three home runs, which is tied for his 2009 mark; but Gardner isn't a home run hitter, and that's just fine.
Not only has Gardner's hitting improved, but so has his on-base percentage and ability to get on base.
In 2009, his OBP was just at .345; now in 2010, it's at .406. Getting Gardner on base is vital to the offense because he can score a ton of runs and steals a lot of bases.
Right now, Gardner already has 44 runs scored and 22 stolen bases, so he is doing his part for the Yankee offense.
When Gardner was named the starting left fielder, I had said that he needed to develop into a Jacoby Ellsbury-like hitter and he is doing that, plus more considering Ellsbury has been out for a lot of 2010 with injuries.
Gardner is now hitting and getting on base to go along with his range on defense and fast legs on the basepaths. This is the player the Yankees hoped that would come about when he first came up in 2008.
If Gardner continues to play like he does, he could eventually take over as the everyday lead-off hitter for the Yankees in the future, and his run total could increase even more. For now, keeping him in the bottom of the order seems to be working very well.
Also, with Gardner not only playing well and being able to keep his left fielder spot, the Yankees won't have to spend money on getting Crawford or Werth in the winter, especially with the good play of Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher as well. The Yankees can spend money to resign their core players and focus on improving the starting rotation if needed.
As good of players that Werth and Crawford are, the Yankees simply won't need, nor have the room for either of them because you can't bump Gardner now, not after the season he is having for the Yankees.
It looks like "Brett The Jet" has become a fixture in the Yankees lineup and will be so for a long time now.