When you watch a baseball game there’s always a chance you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. That’s because the sport is played in 30 different parks with countless variables that can affect play from weather conditions to fan involvement.
For this reason, as well as human beings’ general attraction to novelty, we are always looking for the what’s new in the sport. That can come in the form of new players, changing approaches from veterans or different tactics used by teams. It’s always more interesting to examine new angles for fans as well as writers.
In terms of fans there’s nothing wrong with this. The role of a fan is to enjoy baseball, it’s a plum job and can be undertaken however the fan sees fit. Writers are a little bit of a different story. There is some obligation on the part of baseball scribes to provide information without bias (where possible). This directive can be changed depending on the outlet, but more often than not providing accurate and unbiased information is at least a component of the job.
As a result it is sometimes unfortunate that writers are biased towards novelty, because it leaves consistency under-reported. Reliability doesn’t make for sexy headlines, but it is deserving of recognition. It’s so easy to overrate unexpected contributions and fail to appreciate players that can be counted on.
In that vein, it’s worth taking a look at Brett Gardner’s season. Without the elite defensive numbers Gardner put up in his youth he’s no longer a star, but he’s a valuable above-average starter. He’s also intrigued in recent years by putting a few more balls over the wall than he has in the past.
However, what’s most remarkable about Gardner lately is his aforementioned consistency. Over the last three years his offensive production has been as steady as humanly possible.
|Statistic||Highest Total||Lowest Total|
|BB%||10.8% (2015)||8.5% (2013)|
|K%||21.1% (2014)||19.9% (2015)|
|ISO||.166 (2014)||.143 (2013)|
|BA||.273 (2013)||.256 (2014)|
|OBP||.354 (2015)||.327 (2014)|
|SLG||.428 (2015)||.416 (2014)|
|wOBA||.342 (2015)||.331 (2014)|
|BsR||5.6 (2014)||3.8 (2013)|
Since 2013 you have been able to count on Gardner to do Gardner things without fail. Barring some kind of injury there’s no reason to believe that trend will stop in the immediate future.
The big caveat here is that the season is far from over. In theory the 32-year-old outfielder could go on an absolute tear driving the Yankees to a massive winning streak on the way to reclaiming the division lead.
That would be a surprising development well worth writing about, but it wouldn’t be very “Brett Gardner”.
(Photo: Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)