The New York Yankees admitted they would like to find another Brett Gardner in their organization. And it appears the team could come close to that goal with the likes of Billy McKinney and Dustin Fowler.
Gardner might be staring at his future replacement down the line. But for now, he’s just as intrigued as the rest of us with the Yankees new outfield prospects.
“It’s all there for them,” Gardner, who is entering his 10th season with the Yankees, said. “I don’t know what that means for them five, 10, 15 years down the road. It doesn’t mean they’re going to all play 10-plus years in the big leagues. Maybe they’ll get 20. Who knows?”
While Gardner has expressed intrigue with McKinney and Fowler, both players hope to have the kind of success Gardner had in the Major Leagues, especially since they’re about the same type of player.
“I try to take as much from him as possible because our games are very similar,” Fowler said regarding Gardner. “We’re both smaller guys that have a little bit of power and play defense and run the bases [well]. If I could emulate his game, it would be great — because it’s definitely working for him.”
Fowler was one of the many minor league kids to ask Gardner for help this Spring. While Gardner helped Aaron Judge cut back on the strikeouts this Spring, Gardner assisted Fowler with his bunting.
“I struggled with it last year and want to be able to get more hits that way,” Fowler said. “I know that’s something he’s good at.”
While Gardner, McKinney and Fowler appear to be the same type of player, Gardner admits he was never a highly-touted prospect. McKinney and Fowler are slated to start their seasons at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. When Gardner was their age, he was playing for the Staten Island Yankees.
I was never highly ranked as those guys are,” Gardner said. “I was toward the other end of the list. I was more of a suspect and less of a prospect. But just like the draft, people either exceed expectations or don’t live up to expectations — or fall somewhere in the middle. It’ll be a lot of years before you know if any of these those guys fulfill their potential and what kind of careers they’re going to have. There’s no way to predict it. But all of them have a bright future ahead of them.”