Yankees: Brett Gardner Wins Long Overdue Gold Glove Award

New York Yankees veteran leftfielder Brett Gardner took home his first career Gold Glove Award in 2016, his ninth season in the big leagues.

Brett Gardner has long been one of Major League Baseball’s most overlooked stars, but he is finally beginning to get the respect he deserves. In 2015, the New York Yankees leftfielder was selected for his first career All-Star squad. This year, Gardy will finally take home his first Gold Glove Award after being one of the American League’s best defensive outfielders for nearly a decade.

A week earlier, Gardner had been named as one of three finalists for the award, along with Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals and Colby Rasmus of the Houston Astros. Gordon seemed like the clear favorite after winning the award four times in the last five years, but surprisingly, Gardner has pulled off an upset.

This was not the first year that Gardner had been a finalist for the award. He was also one of the final three after the 2011 and 2015 campaigns.

By the numbers, Gardner is no longer the world-class defender he was back in 2010-2011 when he saved a combined 56 runs by Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and had an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of 24.8 and 26.7 in consecutive years. In 2016 though, he he saved 12 runs according to DRS and had a respectable 3.6 UZR. Obviously his speed has declined out there, but he was still a solid choice for the award.

Gardner made several memorable highlight reel catches that certainly helped his case for this year’s honor. His game-saving catch in the ninth inning against Toronto with two outs, a one run lead, and the bases loaded is the one that sticks out most for me, but there were quite a few to choose from.

The last Yankees players to take home Gold Gloves were Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano back in 2012. No other 2016 Bombers were even finalists for the award. The only other Yankee with a chance to take home a major award this year is Gary Sanchez, who was predictably named one of the three finalists for the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year award on Monday, along with Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers and Tyler Naquin of the Cleveland Indians.

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