Why losing Gardner would be a BIG deal


So a couple of researchers had a lengthy exchange regarding Brett Gardner's value in the 24 hours following Gardner's being hit by a pitch in Sunday's win. The idea being: How many ways could we show that Gardner's status (day-to-day) is of great significance.

The end product of that discussion is this list -- one that extolls Gardner's virtues as Katie did in her TMI piece on why Gardner was One2Watch4 this spring.

• Gardner enters Tuesday with a higher slugging percentage this season (.418) than Mark Teixeira (.408) and a higher on-base percentage (.403) than Derek Jeter (.347).

• He's second among the team regulars in batting average (.321) and his .361 batting average against fastballs (via Inside Edge) trails Robinson Cano for best on the team by only 10 points.

• He had the second-best on-base percentage in June (.472), trailing only Josh Hamilton. His 1.005 OPS in June entering the day was BY FAR the best on the Yankees this month.

• He ranks fourth among the Yankees hitters in a pair of “next-level” metrics: Wins Above Replacement (a measure combining offense, defense, and baserunning), and Win Probability Added (which measures how much each of your plate appearances contributed to your teams chance to win). He also ranks second to Hamilton among all major league left fielders in runs created per 27 outs (6.9).

• He works counts like nobody else. He has more plate appearances of 7+ pitches than any other Yankees hitter (35). He also ranks tied for the major-league lead in two-strike hits with Adrian Beltre.

• He ranks seventh among left fielders in the Baseball Info Solutions-created defensive metric “Enhanced Plus/Minus” which measures how many bases you saved over the average major league player at that position.

• He's the ultimate sparkplug. His on-base percentage when leading off an inning is .500, second-best in the majors. The Yankees, by way of Bill James Online, average 0.78 runs per inning when he leads off, best on the team and sixth-best in the AL.

• He scores 43 percent of the time that he's on base (a stat tracked by Baseball-Reference.com). That's the best rate on the Yankees and the fifth-best in the American League.

• He's been on first base when a double was hit on five occasions, scoring four times. He's been on second base when a single was hit 12 times, and scored in eight instances. Both of these rates are significant improvements from 2009.

• He rates first in the majors in infield hit percentage (he led the majors in that last season), and fourth in the Bill James-devised metric Speed Score.

• He's a Red Sox-killer. In the eight games between the teams this season, Gardner is hitting .345 with three stolen bases and eight runs scored.

• Lastly, go figure: Among all outfielders in the majors, Brett Gardner ranked fifth (at least entering Monday) in the ESPN.com Fantasy Player Rater. Among those he's better than: Ryan Braun, Ichiro Suzuki, Matt Holliday, and Jayson Werth.