New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner has been enjoying a career season in 2019 and has become an unsung hero in the Bronx.
When the New York Yankees brought back outfielder Brett Gardner this offseason, they likely didn’t expect him to have this big of an impact. However, the veteran has been an unsung hero for the majority of the 2019 season.
Entering the season, the Yankees figured to have a trio of stars roaming the outfield. That included Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton. It wasn’t planned for Gardner to see this much playing time. But injuries have forced the 36-year-old into a starting role. And he’s responded in a major way.
There have been many surprises to Gardner’s excellent season. He’s played in 129 games entering Sunday. After the Yankees declined his option in the offseason and gave him a reduced rate on a one-year, $7.5 million deal, that much playing time wasn’t supposed to happen. Yet, he’s been steady both on and off the field.
The longest-tenured Yankee on the roster, Gardner has also seen an increase in his power numbers. He has a career-high 25 home runs on the season, and his .500 slugging percentage and .823 OPS are the highest averages of his career to date. He also only needs one more RBI to set a new career-high (67).
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 14, 2019
In an insane season in which almost every Yankee has dealt with some type of significant injury, Gardner has been there to fill in. All three starting outfielders in Judge, Hicks and Stanton have missed some—if not most—of the 2019 campaign due to injury. Gardner has been there to lead the locker room and the outfield. He knew he was up to the challenge.
“I feel like the older I get, the smarter I get, and I take better care of myself,” said Gardner. “Definitely not surprised that I’ve been able to stay healthy and maybe play more games than expected to. Obviously not happy with the circumstances that led to that, with all the guys we’ve had out, but I knew I was up for the challenge.”
The Yankees have the best record in baseball entering Sunday at 98-52, followed closely by the Houston Astros. They are looking to claim home-field advantage for the playoffs, and Gardner has been a big reason they are even in this position entering the home stretch of the season.
As the playoffs approach, Gardner will look to continue to be an unsung hero in the Bronx.