Dee Gordon had a bounce back season in 2014. Coming into spring training, he was cast off as a bench player. He had to compete with two new Cuban signees Alexander Guerrero, and Erisbel Arruebarrena for the starting second base job. His days as a shortstop were long gone.
It seemed as if the Dodgers were going to go with some kind of platoon at second base, and Gordon could possibly be a part of that rotation, serving again as a pinch-runner late in games. Gordon had posted an awful .234/.314/.298 slash line in 106 plate appearances in 2013, while playing 38 games at shortstop. The season before that he batted .228 in 330 plate appearances.
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It appeared that Gordon’s career had stalled. But Gordon is a hard worker, and he resurrected his career with a stellar campaign in 2014. Gordon batted .289 in 650 plate appearances, and became the premier base stealer in the majors. Gordon stole an MLB leading 64 bases, and collected 12 triples with his 176 hits. (The majority of them being the infield variety) Gordon scored 92 runs, and played in 148 games.
His defense improved as well. Total zone fielding runs above average rated him as a +2 defender, and his range factor was a hefty 4.58 over 144 games at the keystone.
Gordon was rewarded for his hard work by being selected to his first all-star game in 2014. Gordon was able to showcase his skills in the midsummer classic by stealing a base and scoring a run in the National League’s 5-3 loss at Target Field. While Gordon had a good year, there are still a few areas he needs to improve upon for 2015.
One of those areas is his on-base skills. Last season Gordon got on base at a .326 clip. That mark is lackluster for a lead-off batter. Gordon’s career OBP is just .314. That’s just not going to cut it for batting at the top of the order.
Another area Gordon needs to improve upon is his plate discipline. The speedster drew just 31 walks, and struck out 107 times in 2014. Those numbers led to an average 101 OPS+ in 2014.
He should also continue to work on improving his defense. Despite the improvement, defensive runs saved pegged him at -5 runs. That means Gordon cost the club five runs defensively this year.
Gordon seemed to tire out towards the end of the season. After playing in more games than he ever has in his career he was a non-factor in the division series against the Cardinals. Gordon hit .176 (3 for 17) with 2 RBI, and a steal in the Dodger’s four game division series loss to the Cardinals. He’ll need a bit more stamina if he is going to be able to survive another playoff run next year.
Gordon may not have great Baseball instincts, but he makes up for it with his speed and athleticism. Gordon is a good player, but he has to improve his on base skills, and plate discipline if he is going to remain the Dodger’s lead-off hitter. Obviously the Dodgers need Gordon to walk more in 2015. Speed never takes a day off, but you can’t steal first base.
Gordon is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2015. Gordon made 515,000 dollars in 2014.