For the first time in his career, Brett Gardner is an All-Star. Last night in Kansas City, Alex Gordon (who was to be the starting left fielder for the American League in Cincinnati on Tuesday) came up lame tracking a fly ball and left with what was diagnosed as a groin strain. Today he was placed on the 15-day DL, and Gardner was announced in the middle of today's game as Gordon's replacement. Before being named to the game, Gardner was one of five candidates on the AL Final Vote ballot, along with Brian Dozier of the Twins, Mike Moustakas of the Royals, Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers, and Xander Boegarts of the Red Sox. As of MLB.com's last update, Gardner was in fourth place with Moustakas in the lead. He will join fellow Yankees Dellin Betances and Mark Teixeira on the All-Star roster.
It's a well-deserved accolade for Gardner, who entered today at tenth among all American League outfielders in fWAR and was 3-3 with a home run at the time of the announcement over the Yankee Stadium PA system. Per Katie Sharp on Twitter, there are only two players this season who have 10 homers, 15 steals and 20 doubles. One is Gardner, and the other is NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. Gardner is also now in the top 30 in all of baseball for slugging percentage after his homer today.
Gardner has been quietly excellent over the last season and a half since tapping into his power, and it's quite the honor for a player who was a walk-on to his college baseball team. A former third round pick out of the 2005 draft, there were doubts that Gardner would ever amount to anything more than a backup outfielder. Now, he's one of the most important Yankees and on his way to the mid-summer classic. All of us here at Pinstripe Alley congratulate Brett on the honor and wish him success in Cincinnati.
Nicolas Stellini is a staff writer at Pinstripe Alley, where he writes about the Yankees and covers the Double-A Trenton Thunder. His national coverage can be found at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @StelliniTweets.