Baseball has become a young player's game as teams are leveraging young talent that is cheaper and a better value proposition. And names like Trout and Harper have added to the excitement of the game as a whole. But the eternal question still remains: How much rope do young players get? For every story about prospects that do not make the grade, the mind wanders back to the first year of A-Rod and Schmidt. Those guys were brutal their fist years in the majors. And those thoughts lead to Dee Gordon. For all the flash and for all the talk, Dee Gordon is not playing very well. In fact, he is one of the worst players in the majors.
Of all qualifying players, Dee Gordon has the ninth lowest wOBA in the majors at .260. His OPS currently sits at .569. Of all qualifying shortstops, only the Angels' Aybar is rated lower by Fangraphs. And shortstop is not exactly a talent-filled position these days. No doubt the guy is fast and plays with a certain flair. But you have to get on base to take advantage of that ability. His .288 on-base percentage has been killing the Dodgers, especially since man-crush, Donny Baseball, insists on batting him in the lead off position. How far do the Dodgers let this go?
History tells us they let it go for a long time. Look how long the team has stuck with Loney. It is not like Gordon has shown improvement. His OPS was .489 in April, .600 in May and .588 so far in June. He has walked one time in his last 44 plate appearances. Gordon has 240 plate appearances thus far this season and only has nine extra base hits to show for it. And that is just his offense.
Dee Gordon is not playing good defense either. If you look at the old standby of fielding percentage, Gordon has now played 110 games for the Dodgers as a shortstop and has made twenty errors. That is good for a .957 fielding percentage. But for as fast as he is, his fielding efficiency doesn't make up for his fielding percentage. Currently in all of baseball for qualifying shortstops, Dee Gordon is rated better than only Derek Jeter. When your offensive game is not going well, you don't want your defensive named in that kind of company.
So what do the Dodgers do? Keep running him out there? A quick check at Triple-A shows that they have Luis Cruz there. He is hitting really well at Triple-A. But his fielding is not any better than Gordon's. And there is little available on the trade market. Justin Sellers is not much of an upgrade.
The Dodgers have a nice little cushion in the NL West and so they can afford to keep running Dee Gordon out there in the hopes that he will suddenly blossom into the player they hope him to be. But players with little plate discipline rarely improve in that category and it continues to amaze this observer how little patience some of the fastest guys in baseball have. What a waste of speed! Anyway, look forward to many more games of Dee Gordon playing shortstop. They may win the NL West with him out there, but the playoffs are a whole other ballgame.