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?