Miami Marlins: Can Dee Gordon sustain his success?
Looking to go all in, the Miami Marlins made a splash last offseason. In December of 2014, the Marlins filled their second base gap by acquiring Dee Gordon from the Dodgers, along with Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas, and a player to be named later.
However, Miami relinquished much of their remaining farm system talent, including Chris Hatcher, Austin Barnes, Enrique Hernandez, and Andrew Heaney. This move was bold, sacrificing the team’s future for the present.
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Now over 100 games into the 2015 season, fans, players, and management alike have come to realize that the 44-68 Marlins won’t be using their second baseman to propel them into playoff contention.
However, many are still split on this trade. One side believes that the Marlins surrendered far too much young talent while the other claims that Dee Gordon has proven worthy of such prospect departures. And while he may have shown his value this season, can Gordon sustain his success?
That remains the key question. Without a doubt, ‘Flash Gordon’ has posted the most impressive numbers of his career in 2015. He’s batting .326 with 134 hits in just 96 games.
Split his season in half, however, and you see a whole different picture.
April-May: .377/.405/.444, .438 BABIP, 2.2 fWAR
June-August: .275/.285/.353, .327 BABIP, 0.3 fWAR
Throughout the first portion of the season, Gordon posted all-star caliber numbers, leading the league in hits at the all-star break with 122. His stats popped out, but that included stats like BABIP, which he also led the league in by all-star break (.403).
So he was lucky, so be it. He’s still a great player, right?
Well, Gordon’s June-August numbers suggest that he’s around league average. He can run (34 stolen bases), but his lack of power hitting neutralizes that asset to an extent in terms of value.
Other than that, his batting average stands above average, even at his .275 July-August mark, but his WAR in that time hovers around zero.
Take his pure second half numbers, starting from after the all-star break, and he proves to be well below average. Batting just .240 since the mid-summer classic, Gordon also possesses just one steal, getting caught twice.
Though he rarely walks, Dee’s walk rate fell to just 1.9% in the second half. His OBP stands at .255 and his slugging is stuck at .300. His .261 BABIP has signified his lack of luck in the second half of 2015, but shows no excuse for his poor performance following May, which has been overshadowed by his excellent start.
At this point, you can either choose a side or split the two down the middle, which is what I will do. I cannot foresee Gordon struggling like he has in the second half throughout 2016, nor can I see his hot start lasting a full season next year.
In my opinion, Gordon creates his value on the base paths. His 64 steals from last year should be the commodity that teams look at him for. The hitting may come and go, as we’ve seen in extreme fashion this year, but swiping bags must remain consistent.
Overall, Dee Gordon is a solid player, and a great half of the Marlins double-play combo. But can he sustain a .326 batting average in 2016? I doubt it.
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