Don’t panic over Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon’s hitting and fielding over the season’s first two weeks is no worse than anyone should have anticipated.

If there were no hope for him, it might be time to replace him. If there were someone obviously better, it might be time to replace him. If he were the sole problem in a lineup that would thrive in his absence, it might be time to replace him.

None of those things are the case. The plan, all along, has been for the Dodgers to enjoy what they can get from Gordon and let him develop. Two weeks into the season, there is no reason to change that plan.

Angel Berroa started 65 games for the 2008 Dodgers. I think we can live with Dee Gordon for now.

  • Anonymous

    Plus there is just so much possible upside with Dee. There may be a high risk, but there is also a good potential for a high reward. 

  • Anonymous

    Ha!  Jon used the Berroa card.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, but he wisely saved the Oscar Robles card.

  • Anonymous

    Much more concerned about 3B than SS… 

    Dee spent the time this summer — reportedly — with Barry Larkin learning about the position. I’m guessing that he had a bit of a slump and then started to revert to his old ways because he doesn’t yet trust what he’s learned. A little coaching up, or a call from Mr. Larkin, and I think Dee will be right as rain. 

    Uribe, however …. 

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I also can’t help but think that some (not all) of Matt Kemp’s success this season stems from pitchers worrying about Gordon on the bases.  Whether he was on at the time of Kemp’s hit or not may not matter if a pitcher has to make alterations to their delivery or game approach.  IF all the Dodgers get from Gordon is what he has shown over the first dozen games, that would be enough to justify his presence as the everyday shortstop
    .

    • Anonymous

      If Jon buys that in his current deelirious state, maybe we can sell him on the idea that Frank Howard’s 31 dingers in 1962 were attributable to Maury Wills.

    • Jack Dawkins

      I think Matt has entered the territory where pitchers are too worried about him to worry about anything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.hindinger Ryan Hindinger

    James Loney gives me more concern as a hitter and baserunner than Dee does.

    • Anonymous

      My next t-shirt idea: “Let James Run” (sponsored by the Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Padres)

      Do we have a winner?

  • Anonymous

    Like I said before, I’m not panicking about Dee… yet. I think everyone can admit that the team has been surprisingly good so far. A solid pen, better than expected pitching from the back half of the rotation, and Ethier possibly becoming the player his health would never allow him to be. With those things, even with expected rough spots, this team can compete. It is a lot easier to let a crucial part of your line-up to “learn on the job” when you are a .500 ball club and the expectations aren’t very high – as they weren’t when Mattingly said he was fine with Dee maturing at this level. But now we see that just maybe we can make some noise this year.

    So with Dee’s long-term potential understood, my question is – at what point does “learning on the job” become a detriment to a competitive team? IF he remains at this level (sub .265 OBP, .231 SLG, and 4 errors in 12 games) through May? That is probably a worst case scenario, but then can I panic?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       For me, it depends on other factors. But in a vacuum, I would have a long leash, and May is still only two months.

      I don’t expect he’ll be like this in May, personally.

      As for the errors – remember he is also making plays our other shortstops wouldn’t make.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

        But Jon…although I agree with your basic point (it’s too early to panic), the main requirement for defensive players at any position is to make the plays they should make routinely. Gordon has not done that, and it’s a legitimate concern.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    I’m totally not worried about Dee at all. I think he’s a special guy and a special talent but still–easy to forget this given he had some early success–quite raw and inexperienced, relatively. He’s basically going through growing pains.  It is very important to get him going though, because he’s critical to the offense scoring a few runs and scoring 5-7 runs. But I have faith he’ll pick it up.

  • Anonymous

    Dee’s upside is so high that I’m not worried about his growing pains.  Warts and all, he’s still the best option the Dodgers have in the 6-hole right now.

  • http://twitter.com/Derek_TC Derek TC

    Somewhat latd, my reply to last night’s discussion.

    Well, I mainly left out Gordon because I think the Dodgers are already in “see what we got here” mode at SS with Dee. The season is short and Dee should be given a real chance. I think they already know what they got with the vets at 1b, LF, and 3b and they all stink. Does Loney really need more time at this point? Are Rivera, or Uribe really going to turn into productive long term options? Or even short term? 

  • Anonymous

    I just watched the hairston diving stop play from yesterday. Did anyone else notice that Loney was kind of straddling 1st base on the play? It did not look like the throw was off line, so I’m curious what was going on there. The runner slid feet first into 1st base, which is pretty rare.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       I noticed it too, but I’m just assuming Loney did what he felt he needed to do.

      • Anonymous

        Loney is still an excellent fielding first baseman.

  • Anonymous

    I’m okay with letting Dee develop while starting at shortstop. He makes occasional fielding errors, but he also covers a lot of ground. But is it wise to bat him leadoff while he develops? Aren’t we essentially giving our lowest OBP regular the most at-bats? (by ‘we’ I guess I mean Mattingly)

    • http://twitter.com/Derek_TC Derek TC

      He causes many errors and gets on base and i don’t think he gets credit for his OBP on those plays. His speed is so disruptive I think you live with it.

      • Anonymous

        actually, that’s a good question. does OBP count every time you get on base and not cause an out? (including errors and such). I always assumed it did, but never bothered to look it up.

    • Anonymous

      >>  Aren’t we essentially giving our lowest OBP regular the most at-bats?
      .
      No, because Uribe’s OBP is even lower than Gordon’s.  :(

      • Anonymous

        ah, right. i keep trying to forget he’s on the team. i was hoping the wrist injury would mean that he is no longer a regular… 

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the sentiment above, that he should get a long leash to let him develop.
    .
    However, I sure would like to see him start to take advantage when the infield is drawn in, which it usually is when he is batting.  Opponents have apparently figured out that he can’t do so.

  • Adam Luther

    He’s got to walk more.  5 walks this year…last year only 7 in 224 AB’s.  Would easily bring his average up to respectable.  Most exciting baserunner since…

    • Anonymous

      5 walks so far is going to put Gordon at a better number than last year. I think Gordon knows that he needs to improve his plate discipline. But that is a not uncommon problem for a young player.

      • Adam Luther

        I would hope it would put him at better numbers…I’m optimistic that his eye and patience will improve.  LL Bonifacio (.340) has 8 BB’s and 9 for 9 in SB’s.  Hopefully at the end of the day Gordon will be closer to those kinds of numbers.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Well, he is walking more.
      2011: 33.3 PA/BB
      2012: 11.4 PA/BB

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7PNAFNXM7T73BGEJ4GML6UCTC4 scottF

    I am confused how Dee got out of Minor League ball without bunting?
    Murry Wills should have helped him use his speed. Too many Dodgers Minlor Leaguers hit the ball in the air and not use the ground to get on.  Fly balls are usually outs.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I’ve seen Gordon bunt several times this year. 

      • Anonymous

        Without looking it up, I remember him getting three bunts down – one to the 3B, one right back to the pitcher, and one to short.  The one to SS was the only successful attempt.  He has squared and/or fouled attempts numerous times.

      • http://profiles.google.com/krpballer Kevin Pyle

        you haven’t seen him bunt successfully though.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    The only guy that makes sense as a leadoff hitter from an OBP perspective is A.J. Ellis. Since that isn’t going to happen, might as well leave Gordon there. 

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    Well, I think you guys are exagerating things in here with Dee. Although I concur he had looked bad in ocassions, up to now, he has a .954 in 51 games started lst year & .934 in 12 games this year.  The man he replaced, Rafael Furcal which was considered and above aerage fielder at the position in his last 3 years with us had .968 in 132 games, .955 in 86 games & .964 in 77 games. You can add  that more of Funcarl errors where throwing errors which cause extra bases granted.  It is not as bad as it appears and he got all the season to keep correcting faults.

  • http://twitter.com/DodgerTony Anthony Forkush

    I agree with you completely, Jon. This is a half-rookie who is struggling at the plate and in the field in April. He is more than likely exactly where he should be at this point in his journey. What is worrisome, however, is the marketing arm of the organization that has invested a high expectation in him as a new franchise player, which could not be further from the truth, at this time. It very well could become his tag, but until that time, undue pressure from the PR department may prevent the coaching staff from taking potential steps that might help him work things out, if needed. That’s all I am concerned about, not where he is at currently.