Brett Gardner is slap happy
If you’ve watched most of the Yankees’ games this year, the spray chart below probably isn’t much of a surprise.
Whenever Gardner gets a hit, most of the time he finds a way to slap the ball to left field, just over the head of the third baseman, or he hits a knee-high pitch just over the second base bag. This is captured further by batted ball data, as Gardner’s line drive percentage to left is 21% while his LD percentage to center is 18%. Meanwhile, his LD percentage to right field, where the fewest hits tend to fall, is just 10% (a related note—his ground ball percentage to right is a high 70%). As a left-handed hitter with no real pull power, this approach makes sense for Gardner.
The funny thing is, because of his speed, third basemen can’t really adjust to his manner of hitting. If they were to play a step back and closer to the grass, where they could possibly snare one of Gardner’s slappy liners, they would then be more susceptible to a bunt single (pitchers might eventually pitch to him differently, though). At the end of the season, it will be interesting to see who will have gone to the other field more often, Gardner or Derek Jeter.