Brett Gardner saving his best for last in 2019

His nine home runs in September are the most in the American League
Brett Gardner is third on the Yankees this season with 27 home runs. (AP)

Brett Gardner is third on the Yankees this season with 27 home runs and 26 doubles. (AP)
Brett Gardner remains an ageless wonder for the Yankees.
We wrote two months ago about how Gardner was on pace to set career-highs in home runs and slugging percentage. The 36-year-old outfielder instead decided to shatter both marks as he reached 27 home runs to finish off the Yankees' homestand Sunday.

Gardner's .501 slugging percentage is a full 73 points higher than his previous high (2017) while his 72 RBI best his total of 66 from his All-Star season in 2015. For now, he's shaken off any concerns of decline by having a career season at the plate.
Even more impressive, the veteran's gotten better as the season's progressed. Gardner has nine home runs in September, giving him the American League lead for the month. That ties a career-high for a month set in May 2017, when he was exchanging home runs with Matt Holliday to help pace the Baby Bombers.
Both his May 2017 and September 2019 outputs come in the context of an elevated home run environment, but Gardner stands outs anyway. After all, he didn't have nine home runs in a year until his age-30 season and had just 15 home runs over his first five MLB seasons. Thus, it's crazy to think that Gardner will finish close to 30 home runs, let alone complete his fifth season with double-digit taters. He's one long ball ahead of Aaron Judge, which has created a playful back-and-forth between the Yankees' sluggers as they try to one-up each other.

Moving past his home runs, Gardner is still enjoying one of the best months of his career this September. His .390 isolated slugging percentage blows May 2017 out of the water. His 147 wRC+ ranks in the top 10 of his best-ever months.
Gardner moved into the Yankees' top 35 all-time with 123 career long balls by riding the current airball revolution. The outfielder isn't hitting the ball harder this season, but he's hitting it in the air more consistently. The only sign of aging in his bat are a few more swings and misses, though his power has more than made up for it.
Gardner hasn't let his focus slip on the basepaths or in the field, either. Though his days of 40+ steals in a season are over, he's still an extremely skilled baserunner. His sprint speed is in the 91st percentile league-wide, second on the Yankees only to Tyler Wade, a player 11 years his junior.
The Yankees have asked a lot from Gardner this year. Going into the season, the expectation was that he would be a part-time player, ceding left field reps to Giancarlo Stanton and perhaps Clint Frazier while Aaron Hicks roamed in center field.
With Hicks and Stanton missing significant portions of the season, Gardner has been the team's everyday center fielder, adding more wear and tear to his body but with little impact on his actual production.
Gardner would have been forgiven if he couldn't hold up to the pressures of everyday playing time at age 36. Instead, he has risen to the occasion and saved some of his best hitting and fielding for the season's stretch run as the Yankees gear up for October.