Unpopular Opinion: Brett Gardner is Andrew Benintendi

andrew benintendi.jpg
(Photo: Kim Klement- USA Today Sports).

  Before I start this article off, I will let it be known I am a hypocrite. I have and will draft Andrew Benintendi. In fact, I took him in the Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational on Fantrax. I still believe though, that Brett Gardner is in fact, a clone if you will of Andrew Benintendi or vice versa. I’ve seen articles comparing ADP’s between Benintendi and guys like Christian Yelich. But not one comparing Benintendi to Brett Gardner.

  Let’s start off by taking a one on one look at each individual player. Starting with Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi, along with Mookie Betts was the face of the Boston Red Sox’s offense last year. Finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year ballot, Benintendi had himself quite the season. Going exactly 20/20 with 20 home runs and 20 steals, Benintendi also drove in 90 while having an OBP of .352. Not bad for a 22-year-old. He currently has an ADP of 42.07 on Fantrax. He has also reportedly put on 20 pounds of muscle this off-season. His 70:112 K/BB ratio was excellent for someone his age. If you are waiting for a downside, you won’t find one. This guy is a stud. He batted 2nd and 3rd in the order most days, 65 games and 44 respectively and now will be hitting in front of a heavyweight like J.D Martinez. So that, in a nutshell, is Andrew Benintendi

  Now, what about Brett Gardner? He is entering his age 34 season, and it’s been productive if underrated one. He has been a Yankee since coming up in the Big Leagues in 2008. He has also stolen 20 or more bases in 4 of the last 5 years, with 2016 being the exception at 16. His 2017 was a career year. He swatted 21 homers (a career high) while stealing 23 bases. In that time he also drove in 63, which is one of the biggest differences between him and Benintendi last year. Gardner had a .350 OBP, which was only .002 off of Benintendi’s. He had a 72:122 K/BB ratio, so 2 more walks and 10 more strikeouts than Benintendi. His RBI problem comes in because he spent 141 of his games in the leadoff position, while none came in the 2nd or 3rd spot in the order. Even with these facts, Gardner had the higher OPS by .002. His ADP on Fantrax currently sits at 197.57.

  So an ADP difference of 42.07 to 197.57, now that is a huge discrepancy. One I think that is unjustified. Now, of course, I’m not saying take Gardner that early, that would be silly. It is interesting to think of how we value players though. I don’t think it purely boils down to ageism, though that is probably a major contributing factor in valuing these two. Gardner did hit over 20 home runs for the first time in his career. Though he had hit 17 in 2014 and 16 in 2015. I can’t put a finger on why the ADP gap is so large, our biases certainly play into it. All I know is, don’t ignore Gardner on draft day, he provides great value at a bargain price.

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