Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
First impressions mean a lot in today’s baseball world. Start off hot and you get a lot of slack: “Adrian Gonzalez? slumping” “Carl Crawford? He’ll come back”, “Josh Beckett? clearly a top ten pitcher”
Overreactions? Love them. We all do them, overreact after a good Chris Perez outing, after a bad Kenley Jansen outing, after a Justin Turner bloop single, after a decent
Roberto Hernandez start HAH JUST KIDDING, THOSE DON’T EXIST AT ALL, EVER, after a good Carlos Frias start.
All the time. Overreactions. All types of them exist. Bench Puig? THERE’S ONE FOR THAT.
So here’s trying to walk a fine line between continuing to believe in Dee Gordon after a hot start to the season, and disowning him after looking at his line the past 259 plate appearances and sobbing in the corner. Dee Gordon has been bad recently, I mean Yasiel has been bad, but there has been no talk about Dee, who has been nearly as bad as Puig for a month longer, it’s a troubling thing.
But I wouldn’t be telling you about this without some hard evidence. Lets look at his stat line since July 1st:.287/.311/.341, 2.6% BB% 20.1 K%, all of this with a BABIP of .357. What does that last number tell us?
When he puts the ball in play, he’s getting on base, but the problem is, he’s not doing that enough, as evidenced by his 20.1 K% and .311 on base percentage, and this is a problematic trend for the youngster, after putting on 15 pounds over the offseason you expected to have a little bit more power, and he did, carrying a .410 slugging percentage before July 1st.
Now, remember those comments Don Mattingly madea couple of years ago about Dee batting leadoff? Well we’re in the exact same predicament right now, Mattingly being blinded by a hot 3 months and not looking at what Dee is right now: a declining leadoff bat that should be demoted in the order.
Going back to that BABIP number, Dee should expect to get on base more on the balls he puts in play, he’s the 2nd or 3rd fastest player in the major leagues, so the BABIP alone isn’t going to plummet , in fact, I believe a .357 is a fair number for Gordon, however if he’s going to turn that into not walking at all, then the Dodgers have a serious problem on their hands.
So lets compare his batted ball profile from “pre-July 1st”, and “post July 1st”
[table id=8 /]
That says something. He’s actually hitting more ground balls in the second half, which would normally be good, and would certainly account for his high batting average, however the fact that his line drive percentage is down 3%, and infield fly ball is up 4%, and flyballs are down 7.5% (which explains the relative power outage) would indicate that a lot of the contact he is making is very weak and would translate to his second half struggles.
Dee’s almost non-existent 2.6 walk percentage and 20.1K% means that he’s not being selective at the plate. There is something about his swing that is definitely an issue, and his swing is probably closer to is was prior to this season, that’s terrible. At this point, Dee has to be more selective, and make better contact because the Gordon we’re seeing right now is not a leadoff caliber hitter, he should be buried in the order (but won’t). Is Dee going to be okay? If the offseason has said anything about him, he’s going to adjust, it is just a question of when, and how much will he hurt the Dodgers before he gets to a productive point again.