Brett Gardner Could Be Named Leadoff Hitter

new york yankees brett gardnerVia Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News:

Joe Girardi has maintained all spring that he plans to keep Derek Jeter in the leadoff spot, something he’s done in each game the captain has played thus far.

Yet there continues to be a push from some inside the organization for Brett Gardner to move to the top of the lineup, a change that would likely shift Jeter back to his familiar No. 2 spot.

“The lineup is best with Gardner leading off,” one source said. “Don’t be surprised if it winds up that way.”

The thing about this is that changes in the lineup are more window dressing than anything else. No matter how the lineup is laid out it is not going to make a difference in more than two games throughout a full season.

Still there is a small difference and even one game can mean making or missing the playoffs. If Jeter is going to struggle again in 2011 then having him at the top of the lineup would hurt the Yankees because it means more at bats for him. Gardner is also a high-OBP guy so having him get more at bats means more baserunners and everyone knows that Gardner is not a typical baserunner.

The thing is though, even if Jeter is moved out of the leadoff spot, he’s not going to drop to 9th in the order. More likely if Gardner gets to be leadoff than Jeter will just drop down to no. 2. The biggest difference in the results is based on how many at bats they get and the difference in the amount of at bats between the first and second hitters is minimal.

What I’m getting at is that as long as Gardner is at the top of the order it doesn’t matter too much if he’s no. 1 or no. 2. Just get him to the top of the lineup if Jeter’s ego is too fragile to move down. A lineup that starts with Jeter, Gardner is probably about as good as one that goes Gardner, Jeter. Realistically it could potentially be even better if it is Jeter, Gardner as Jeet grounds into a ton of double plays (he ranks 4th in MLB in GDP over the past three years). So having Jeter in front of Gardner is one less at bat per game, or 162 per year, where he can’t ground into a double play.

What do you think? Should Jeter bat leadoff? Or should it be Gardner or somebody else even?

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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7 Responses to Brett Gardner Could Be Named Leadoff Hitter

  1. The Captain says:

    People just need to stop getting excited about this. There's absolutely no way Jeter doesn't start the year as the leadoff hitter.

    I'm not saying I agree with the decision, I'm just saying that he's Derek Jeter, he's the face of the franchise, and Joe is a loyal guy just like the previous Joe was. If he stuck with Jeter when Jeter was sucking big time last year, he's going to stick with him and give him a shot to show the changes to his swing have cured what ailed him last year.

    If Jeter starts to bomb again once the season starts and age has truly caught up to him, then we can get around to talking about Gardner hitting leadoff again. But right now it's just wasted time and breath discussing it.

  2. I agree with you Captain, but in the meantime I would like to see Gardner bat second.

    • Mike S. says:

      Agree with Rob. The patience, the speed. The fact that if Jeter is on, Gardner has the hole to shoot through. The fact that even if Gardner is bunting to move Jeter up, that Gardner could still beat out that bunt. With Teixeira, A-Rod and Cano behind him, the last thing pitchers want is the pesky Gardner on base for those guys. As a result, they won't want to walk Gardner and may throw him more fastballs. Plus the fact that Rob mentioned. Jeter leading off instead of batting second means probably 150 plate appearance where Jeter is leading off a game, thus no GIDP. For me, Jeter leads off, Gardner second.

      • The Captain says:

        I'll keep the agreement train rolling here, boys. Gardner batting 2nd would bring an interesting dynamic to the lineup, and would benefit Teix, A-Rod, and Cano hitting behind him because of the attention that pitchers have to pay him when he's on base.

        So if it were Jeter then Gardner, what would your full lineup look like?

        1) Jeter

        2) Gardner

        3) Teix

        4) A-Rod

        5) Cano

        6) Swish

        7) C-Grand

        8) Jorge

        9) Martin?

      • Mindkind says:

        I agree the Yankees should bat Jeter and Gardner at the top of the lineup. I too would go Jeter first then Brett.

        1. Jeter /Nuñez

        2. Gardner /Jones

        3. Cano /Nuñez

        4. Rodriguez /Chavez

        5. Teixeira /Chavez

        6. Posada /Montero

        7. Swisher /Jones

        8. Granderson /Jones

        9. Martin /Montero

  3. Alex Taffet says:

    If Jeter's 2010 campaign does prove to be his new norm rather than a fluke, I'd think that the best Yankees lineup would have Gardner first and Swisher second, with Jeter in a 7-9 spot. However, I doubt that would happen.

    If it does prove to be a fluke, I'd also agree with the Jeter/Gardner 1-2 lineup.

  4. Franco Kotos says:

    good, Jeter would be better off as a #2 hitter behind Tex.

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