Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dodgers' Dee Gordon proving he can hold his own

When Dee Gordon was first recalled from the minors in June, it was a surprise to many. He had his ups and downs before landing on the disabled list. He rehabbed for a few games in Albuquerque before returning to the Dodgers on Sept. 1.

Since his return, he's been playing great ball.

Pre-injury: .234/.248/.270, 13 R, 2 BB, 18 K, 12-for-15 SB (114 PAs)
Post-injury: .372/.395/.462, 14 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 10-for-13 SB (82 PAs)

He's hitting his stride at the right time. Don't be fooled by his .462 slugging percentage in September, as we all know he's not ever going to be a legitimate power threat. However, the high batting average (and subsequent higher on-base percentage) and reduction in strikeouts is most promising. He's cut his strikeout rate from 16.2 percent in his first 30 games to 7.7 percent in his last 18 games.

And he's stealing bases at a Jose Reyes-like pace. If he played all 162 games at the pace he's at, he'd steal nearly 75 bases.

Gordon has been ranked among the Dodgers' top prospects by nearly everyone for the last two or three years. Despite his small frame, he's showing why he was ranked so high. He has game-changing speed and nearly unlimited range at shortstop. He'll likely never hit more than five home runs in a season, but he should be a lock for 50-70 stolen bases and double-digit triples every season for a good 10-12 years.

Gordon's defense needs to improve, but he has the tools to be a plus defender at the most vital of infield positions.

He's a throwback-type player who is going to beat you with his legs, not his muscle. It'd be nice to have a Troy Tulowitzki or Hanley Ramirez to play shortstop, but Gordon is about the next best thing to those all-world talents.

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