May 2, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second basemanDee Gordon
(9) scores a run during the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Marlins think they’ve found their second baseman of the future in Dee Gordon, and they were willing to give up their top prospect to acquire him from the Dodgers. He had a career year in 2014, hitting .289/.326/.378 in 650 plate appearances, leading the National League in triples (12) and stolen bases (64).
Unfortunately, last season was also the only full season Gordon has spent at the major league level. From 2011-13, he never topped 303 PA, and never posted an OPS higher than .686. The Marlins love his speed and the casual fan will look at his .289 batting average and think they’ve found their new leadoff man and that Gordon should provide an immense boost to the Marlins lineup.
The problem is he doesn’t walk and was aided by a .346 BABIP in 2014. Gordon walked just 4.8% of the time last year, drawing just 31 base on balls in those 650 PA. Mike Redmond has said that he will tinker with several lineup ideas in Spring Training, but is expected to bat Gordon first or second most of the time.
But, who knows? As I said, last year was the only time we’ve seen a full year of Dee Gordon. He’s still pretty young (turns 27 in April) and could still be improving his game. If Gordon can keep that average around .300 all year and learn to draw a few more walks, he could be valuable to the Marlins. Otherwise his speed is his only saving grace. 64 stolen bases is an absurd total for one season, but for that speed to matter, Gordon has to get on base.
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