Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner Have Something Special In Common

Derek Jeter has both a new stride and a new contract in his old roles as leadoff hitter and The Captain, while Brett Garner continues to mature at the bottom of the Yankee batting order.

Analysis: One has Menka Kelly, an apartment in Trump Tower, and an English Manor house in Florida. The other is the son of a South Carolina Low Country tomato farmer, who couldn’t get past the walk-on cut in college try outs, yet he wouldn’t take no as an answer, showing up uninvited the next day in his old high school uniform. Ten seasons later Gardner is firmly planted in left field in the Bronx and at the bottom of the batting order. Jeter will achieve a pinstriped milestone- 3,000 hits this season. Many sabermetricians feel Gardner will regress this season, as they feel his BABIP in 2010 indicates his batting average will dip in 2011 and thus most likely his stolen bases as well. Some of those same experts say The Captain has lost too much to contribute at the top of the batting order. Yet it is common place for great hitters at the end of their careers to make little tweaks in their swings to prolong their role as impact players on their teams. Never bet against either of these players. What they have in common and is often over-looked is talent as defined by the estimable Joe Posnanski – “talent just might be what we call hunger, the unquenchable desire…”

We do agree with the expert Bill James on these lines in 2011:

Jeter 703 13 101 68 17 0.295 0.365
Gardner 589 5 101 46 50 0.275 0.377

If the top and the bottom of the Yankee batting order account for a total of 202 runs and 67 stolen bases, then don’t worry about the championship quality of the Yankee offense. The Yankees will make the play-offs in 2011 if they have 3/4s of that kind of success 60 feet 6 inches from home plate.

Author: James Morgan

Albert Einstein is credited with defining 'insanity' as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

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