Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The 2015 MLB Hot Stove Season has been an unforgettable one already, what with a crazy amount of signings and trades helping to change the outlook on more than a few players as we move toward 2015 fantasy baseball.  One such player involved in all carnage is new Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon.  We say new as it was only a week ago when the Los Angeles Dodgers traded their 2014 All-Star for top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney (who they subsequently flipped to the Angels for Howie Kendrick).  The trade was very fishy in that Gordon had the much better season in 2014 than did Kendrick and basically the Dodgers replaced one with the other.  However when you look deeper at his numbers from last season, maybe the Dodgers had some reasons for making the move after all.  With that said let's take a closer look at Dee Gordon with regards to what he could provide his owners for 2015 fantasy baseball.

Before we go on any further, let's take a look at those numbers that made Gordon an All-Star at only 26:

2 HR
34 RBI
92 R
64 SB

Obviously the number that jumps right out are the 64 stolen bases as Gordon unleashed his amazing speed with intense fury.  When Gordon made it to first base, he almost always ran and with great success.  He was fully the leadoff dynamo that the Dodgers had thought he could become as he came up the team's minor league ladder.  However in three previous attempts to stick with the major league club from 2011-2013, Gordon pretty much fell on his face as he barely hit over his weight and and put up OBP's hovering around .300.  As the saying goes, you can't steal first base and so if Gordon continued to prove he could not hit, than he was pretty much useless as a player due to the fact he has absolutely no power to speak of. 

In giving Gordon credit, he seemed to come into the 2014 season fully prepared to finally make good on his potential as evidenced by a scorching hot .333 month of April that included 12 stolen bases.  There were concerns when Gordon slumped to a .244 mark in May (that did include 21 more steals) but he fought right back to post a .303 June and a .300 July to allay fears that it was back to the struggles once again.  Thus what you had in the end was the most dominant stolen base force in all of fantasy baseball which was accompanied by a very promising .289 batting average. 

Now let's dig in and dissect the numbers.  We won't discuss the stolen bases as Gordon will be a monster there if he gets on pace consistently.  Also Gordon should score between 80 and 95 runs once again if he can keep his OBP up and continue collecting hits.  In addition, there is nothing to talk about when it comes to power as Gordon hit all of two home runs last season when many thought he wouldn't hit any.  Also the 34 RBI are pretty much all you can ask for since he leads off and again has no pop.  Instead what we are left here is just the batting average which makes Gordon a fairly simply player to value.  In digging in on the average, a few things stand out.  Guys with big-time speed like Gordon has often produce very high and lucky BABIP's which he in fact did in 2014 with a .346 mark.  That is a very high number and accounts for a lot of the reason he was able to hit .289.  Consider that the average BABIP for a hitter is .300 and one can see that there could be major trouble ahead if Gordon sees a correction to the median this season. 

In addition, Gordon tailed off pretty dramatically from the first half of 2014 to the second.  COnsider these statistics:

2014 First Half:  .292 average/43 SB/.344 OBP
2014 Second Half:  .284 average/21 SB/.300 OBP

There is a stark difference between the two sets of numbers and it is easy to see what is going on there.  Opposing pitchers adjusted to the newer version of Gordon the second half of last season which accounted for the drop in average and the very sharp drop in OBP.  After drawing 27 walks the first half of the season which is still a very, very small number for a leadoff guy, Gordon picked up only 4!!!!!!!!!!! free passes during the second half which is truly horrific.  Gordon has no patience and opposing pitchers made sure to force him to get himself out the second half of last season which worked.  That scouting report is likely to be repeated at the outset of 2015 as well which again could be major trouble.  Thus the reason that many believe the Dodgers did the deal in the first place in possibly doing a sell high.  The Dodgers likely looked at the numbers we just did and thought that things were going to go badly for Gordon this season.  Maybe they are wrong but again the numbers speak. 

When you put things all together, the safe play is to expect Gordon to sink back toward something of a .260 hitter.  He will still collect of a ton of steals but Gordon as a .260 hitter looks a lot different value-wise than if he were hitting .289.  There is some bust potential here which needs to be gauged at the draft table but the allure of all those steals is understandably tough to resist.  We would not go overboard in drafting Gordon this season due to the risk but he remains a sure-fire top ten fantasy baseball second baseman.  Just be somewhat cautious. 

2015 PROJECTION:  .267 1 HR 35 RBI 88 R 56 SB



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