The 2010 season has featured a lot of surprises. The success of Brett Gardner has to be near the top. He had a decent season last year, where he hit .270 with 26 stolen bases in 108 games. He posted a 93 OPS+ which for a number 9 hitter isn’t awful. All things considered, he was very good last year.
This year, he has been one of the best players in the American League, a borderline All Star. He dipped a bit in May but came roaring back in June, hitting .383 with an on base percentage close to .500. For the most part, he has put up great numbers from month to month:
Last weekend, he accomplished the rare feat of hitting a grand slam and an inside the park home run in back to back games. He also stole home on Opening Night in Boston, his first of 24 stolen bases this year. Yes, Brett Gardner has had quite the 2010 season.
The most surprising number has to be his OPS+. It’s 130. That’s higher than Joe Mauer. And Nick Markakis. And Victor Martinez. And Ian Kinsler. And many others. Perhaps most surprisingly, that’s higher than Mark Teixiera AND Alex Rodriguez.
Yes, it’s July 5th, and Brett Gardner has a higher OPS+ than Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Who saw that coming?
Gardner debuted almost exactly two years ago. He hit just .228 in limited action that year. Tonight, Brett Gardner hits leadoff as the Yankees take on Oakland out west. He has certainly come a long way.