Coming into the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a glaring hole left by Mark Ellis at second base. Ellis was not the best second baseman in baseball, but provided extremely solid defense and was the perfect hitter in the two-hole. The Dodgers not only lost Ellis in the offseason, but Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto are also wearing different jerseys this year.
In the offseason, the Dodgers threw their money around and brought in 27-year-old Alexander Guerrero, a stud in the Cuban league. There were question marks about Guerrero’s ability to hit big league pitching, but Guerrero hit .300 in Spring Training with a home run and played solid defense.
He may have made the Opening Day roster had it not been for a strained oblique, which opened the door for Dee Gordon. Gordon has been one of the most frustrating Dodgers over the last three seasons. Dodger fans want to see Skinny Swag play well, but he had failed to show the ability to consistently get on base.
When he did reach base, he was a menace. In 2012, Gordon hit only .228 with a .280 on-base percentage, both awful numbers from a potential leadoff threat. Despite his inability to get to first consistently, Gordon swiped 32 bases that year, a career high for him.
Things have really turned around for Gordon, who spent much of the offseason bulking up and working on fielding second base. The work paid off early in the season as Gordon got off to a torrid start. In his first 91 plate appearances, Gordon hit .353 with a .385 OBP. He’s come down to earth, hitting .253 with a .306 OBP in his last 98 plate appearances, but that shouldn’t take away from what Gordon has meant to the team.
At times, Gordon has been the perfect leadoff hitter. His career high of 32 stolen bases is more than in danger- he’s at 25 steals on May 21. Gordon is walking at a lower percent than he ever has, but is also striking out less. His defense is also improved, having made five errors on the season. Not a great number, but definitely not the trainwreck that a lot of Dodger fans were expecting.
Unfortunately for Gordon, he might not be around much longer for the Dodgers. His name has been thrown around in trade rumors for years, and this year may be no different. His value is at an all-time high and the Dodgers are in need of bullpen help. Guerrero is also killing the ball at AAA, but his contract makes him much less desirable for potential trade partners. It would make sense for the Dodgers to trade Gordon to a team in need of speed or an infielder and call up Guerrero. This may have happened sooner rather than later had it not been for Miguel Olivo going full Mike Tyson on Guerrero, leaving the rookie out of commission for a couple weeks.
Whether he remains on the team throughout the season, Dee Gordon has arguably been one of the best Dodgers this season. He came into the season with pretty low expectations given his past performance, but he has exceeded that and been one of the most reliable Dodgers this season.