Daily Dodger in review: Dee Gordon, the future is now
Final 2011 stats: .304, 34 runs, nine doubles, seven walks, 24 stolen bases, .325 on-base percentage in 224 at-bats.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: Showed flashes of his jaw-dropping speed when first called up, but really flourished in the final month after returning from a shoulder injury. He hit .372 in September with seven doubles. Even mixed in five walks. Defensively, covers plenty of ground and has a good if unspectacular arm. The kid can motor.
The bad: Before his shoulder injury he was batting just .234 with a .248 on-base percentage. Miserable numbers for someone viewed as a leadoff hitter. Defensively his mind sometimes appears to wander on the most routine of plays. And too often he drops his arm to a sideways motion on his throws to first, causing the ball to sail.
What’s next: Hope you’re sold on him, because he is looking like your 2012 starting shortstop. Assuming the Cardinals don’t pick up that $12 million option on Rafael Furcal, there is always the remote possibility the injury-prone shortstop could return with a heavily incentive-laden contract; the Dodgers love him when he’s healthy. But it appears pretty certain they are going young (and cheaper) with Gordon.
The take: Of all the touted young players who made an impact last season, Gordon is the one position player set to have the greatest daily influence on 2012. He’s going to have his learning curve and will require patience at times, but appears a wise roll of the dice.
His speed makes him one of the team’s most exciting players, and this is a team in need of some excitement. Watching him fly around the bases is pure joy.
He’ll need to become more consistent defensively and, if he is to be an effective leadoff hitter, continue to develop his bunting and learn to draw a walk. He just needs to get on base, where his speed can create havoc.
Gordon is young, works hard and wants to reach his potential. If he develops as planned, the Dodgers could have their starting shortstop for the next 10 years.
— Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dee Gordon. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images