Brett Gardner used to be just another outfielder for the New York Yankees. He had speed, yes, but not much else; he was more or less just a slap hitter who could steal a base and cover some ground in the outfield. But amid all the injuries this season, Gardner has stepped up to become one of the Yankees most valuable players.
Gardner currently leads the Yankees in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scoredand stolen basses, and he is tied with Robinson Cano for the team lead in hits. Clearly, Gardner is earning his at-bats. While power hitters Cano, Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner have all struggled this month, Gardner has been on fire and has been the Yankees only offensive threat during the month, hitting .368 with 21 hits, 10 runs and seven RBI’s.
If and when Derek Jeter returns from injury (which will hopefully be very soon), I think Gardner should keep the leadoff spot. Jeter has traditionally been the Yankees leadoff man, but he isn’t as fast as Gardner, nor does he get on base as much. Jeter also gives the Yankees better options in the two hole, opening up the hit-and-run or the sacrifice bunt to move Gardner over.
Brett Gardner has been very impressive for the Yankees this season. For that reason, I believe he makes the most sense as the leadoff hitter.