All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Center Field

Interesting comment posted at LoHud yesterday. They were discussing Brett Gardner, and his defensive skills.

What he has in speed he unfortunately seems to make up for in not reading bats well. He can be dazzling east-west, showing off great range, but has chronic problems judging balls hit over his head. That is kind of important for a CF.

We got a tremendous catch in Game 5 from him, but we see catchable balls to the wall for Melky turn into high adventure and misplays from Gardner.

Gardner’s speed just does not, at this point, translate often enough into plus defense, and sometimes even above average defense.

He improved from the beginning of the season going back on balls, but this is still an issue for him, so I have to assume he just does not have the instinct for getting good jumps.

Those who compare him with Bubba Crosby do Bubba a disservice. While Gardner is much faster, Bubba was a way better instinctive OF.

Dunno if Brett is "much faster." I saw minor league scouting reports for both of them, and their speed from the batting box to first base was identical. However, it's possible Bubba slowed down a bit since then, while Gardner improved. Players may reach their offensive peaks at around age 27-28, but the defensive peak, including range, is earlier - around age 24. This is Gardner's age 25 season, so he's about at his peak defensively, while Bubba didn't make it to the Bronx until his age 27 season.

But I definitely agree about Bubba's instincts in the outfield. Man, I miss that. Perhaps Brett will improve on balls hit over his head - Melky did - but reading the ball off the bat is generally considered something that can't be taught.

My guess is that the Yankees are not happy with either Melky or Gardner in CF. They're not going to trade the farm, but they probably will try to get someone like Mike Cameron - someone to keep center field warm until Austin Jackson is ready.


posted by BubbaFan, 4:34 PM


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