gordon_dirt_arizona

Dee Gordon Making It Interesting As Alex Guerrero Shows Power

gordon_dirt_arizona

Dee Gordon, it must be said, has been outstanding over the first two weeks of the season, hitting .400/.457/.525. He hit a homer off of Max Scherzer. He has four walks. He stole four bases on Sunday alone, leading the big leagues, and also leading to Jeff Sullivan dedicating a post to his speed at FanGraphs. He’s just a hair behind Jason Heyward for being the most valuable baserunner in baseball to date. At the plate and on the base paths, Gordon has been the entire package, and considering just how messy the second base situation looked all winter, this is more than we could have possibly hoped for, especially if you were worried about weeks of Chone Figgins and Justin Turner.

You know why I used that otherwise not-that-appealing picture above as the main image? Because Vin Scully said on the air that the Diamondbacks were so worried about Gordon bunting, they added sand to the dirt (the lighter area above) to try to deaden any bunt attempt. I have absolutely no idea if that’s true, it should be noted. But it could be true, and the fact that we even believe it to be a possibility says a lot about what he’s done.

So Gordon has been great over the first two weeks, and no one can take that away from him. I’m impressed, and I want to see more, and that says a lot. For a very long time, “wanting to see more Dee Gordon” was at about the same level as “wanting to see more Brandon League,” and I’m pleasantly surprised.

Of course, we can appreciate what Gordon has done while still remaining in the realm of reality. It’s been 46 plate appearances. Luis Cruz once hit .429/.455/.667 over 44 plate appearances. Charlie Blackmon is hitting .478/.490/.696 in 49 plate appearances. Chase Utley is hitting .489/.549/.844 in 51 plate appearances. Allen Craig is hitting .133/.184/.133 in 49 plate appearances. Literally anything can happen over a handful of times to the plate, and since Gordon’s BABIP is .441, he is going to decline. That’s not me being a buzzkill. That’s just the facts of the game we love. No one can keep up a .441 BABIP all season long. It cannot be done.

There’s also this: his defensive transition to second base has been… okay. And okay is okay, because it’s a new position and he was an awful shortstop and no one expected him to be a standout defender by April 15. If we can expect that his offense will regress, because it will, then we can probably hope that his defense will improve as he gains experience. He won’t be among the best hitters in baseball all year long; one would hope that he won’t be among the worst-ranked defensive second baseman either, as his -2 Defensive Runs Saved rating would indicate.

Down in Albuquerque, Alex Guerrero has made his debut after missing a few weeks thanks to an oblique strain. In eight plate appearances over two games, he has two homers, and a walk, and a double, and three singles. Thanks to the magic of the internet, we can see them both.

On Sunday, against Clay Rapada:

On Monday, against Jonathan Arias:

That’s after a better spring training than you remember — again, spring stats mean little, but a .300/.400/.500 almost seems surprising after all the negative press he got — though, like Gordon, defense remains a question.

Again, it’s April 15, so none of this means a lot. All we know so far is this: Gordon’s excellent start has contributed to winning ballgames, and it will likely allow the Dodgers to prevent rushing Guerrero up to the big leagues. At some point, Guerrero will be in Los Angeles. By then, either Gordon will have collapsed, or he’ll have turned himself into valuable trade bait, or a speedy and useful utility man. Two of those three things will be happy outcomes for the Dodgers. That’s two more than I think most of us thought there would be six months or a year ago, and for that alone, he deserves our applause.

With righty Tim Lincecum on the mound tonight in San Francisco, I imagine Gordon will be leading off and playing second. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. This is progress. Great progress.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


1150 comments
dappler218
dappler218

How many people think Brian Wilson is more valuable than Paco Rodriguez? 

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

Alex Guerrero is mortal after all. Flies out for the second time tonight.

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

I finally got to see a Joc Jack in person! 2-run homer to R-CF. And no, it was not wind aided. He crushed that thing.

bpamd3
bpamd3

Mike Leake just hit a dinger off Gerrit Cole

Uncultured Bastard
Uncultured Bastard

You think our GM is lame?  SF's Brandon League is starting for the Gnats tonight

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Looks like Haren's lined up for the game I'm going to next week.

P_F_P
P_F_P

Hell, I'd rather see Paco at the plate with the game on the line than Chone.


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Boxxybabee
Boxxybabee

Well I bet CJ is happy. ABQ bullpenis just got a lot better.

Boxxybabee
Boxxybabee

I miss the Manny Ramirez days, said no one.

efb
efb

I have convos with Orel on twitter too!

KMT59
KMT59

@DBrim  good he won the last game I saw him pitch

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

@Catfishin Hard to be happy when teams are doing dumb things like this. Besides, he's no guarantee to save this bunch they have in relief.

PF Flyers
PF Flyers

@Catfishin the pinch hit grandslam he hit on his on bobble head day was kind of amazing. too bad it was PED aided.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@KMT59 @DBrim  Was hoping for Greinke or Ryu but beats the last two Dodgers starters I've seen in person, Chris Capuano and Carlos Monasterios.

nauuds3000
nauuds3000

@Thinkblue WTF, they demoted Paco instead of League or Dominguez????


Fucking Coletti, now we only have 1 LHD in our pen?

KMT59
KMT59

@DBrim @KMT59  I saw Ryu pitch a gem this year only to have BW blow the save

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@Catfishin  This team is more fun, but I enjoyed watching Manny in blue.