Dee Gordon: the 2nd-Best Thing Dipoto Ever Did?
let's tick them off on our fingers



There are many, many, MANY baseball players who can play very, VERY well for 300 AB's, Capt. Lassard.  Jarrod Dyson is one of those guys who is a role player who pro-rates to 3.0 WAR.  Pro-rate@  But many is the role players cannot handle the heat and the burden of the scout/video day, or at least who can't stay healthy over the course of 162 full games.  Hence the fact that we bloggers were guessing at 2/$21M for Dyson in Seattle, while GM's smiled and sobered us to the reality of his 2/$7.5M in Arizona.

Dyson did look like 3.0 WAR full season when he was in KC, and a-l-l of us bought into the dreamy aspirations of having a Loftonesque bullet train out there in CF for us, but the Royals knew better.  Happily, they lightfingered our back pockets for 4 years' worth of Nate Karns - they'll underpay him for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 while Dyson's 2.1 WAR has arrived, checked in, and checked back out.

Karns had an off year last year, meaning his ERA+ was merely 108 and his K's merely 10.1.  Not that the M's couldn't use a 108 pitcher, but KKKarns is going to get better from there.  Your big clue is 10 strikeouts per game, just to letcha know.

Prereq 101:  don't assume too much about taking a good 240-330 AB's and doubling them at your leisure.



Don't assume too much about a baseball All-Star's willingness to make major sacrifices for your team.



Dee Gordon is essentially an attempt to capture Jarrod Dyson's 240-330 AB's in that "doubling" situation.  The problem was going to be his CF conversion, and it's here that Dr. D is having a little trouble processing.

He iss well-and-truly taken aback by Dee Gordon's enthusiasm about becoming a plus center fielder.  It is in question whether speed-burner Gordon will be a +0, or +5, or +10 glovewise in center field, but here's one thing not in question:

1) 390:  Jarrod Dyson career high, AB (with us last year, trying to convert him to full time.  Previously, 337)

2) 695:  Dee Gordon career high, AB (last year)

It's all to easy to visualize Dee Gordon slapping .300's worth of hard ground balls through the infield, distracting SP's enough to allow a Jean Segura bolt into RF and ... well, if the M's offense is going to to be a night-in, night-out offensive machine, it could do worse than to start with a bread-and-butter 158 games' worth of Dee Gordon at the top each night.

There are VERY few ballplayers of Gordon's profile who make .300 work, and fewer still who make 60 SB's every year work.  Last year's 114 runs scored weren't by accident.



Back in the summer of 2016 I didn't have much of any idea that Edwin Diaz could (or SHOULD) pitch relief, and Dr. D doubts very much he was alone in this.  The report on Diaz was that he had a 92-94 fastball he could paint with beautifully, and a slider that was coming along.

Jerry Dipoto said Nope.  Rather than a #2-3 starter we will help ourselves to a 15.33 strikeout closer and the net $20-25M asset that goes along with it.  This conversion may very well have been Jerry Dipoto's best move as a GM to date.

Dee Gordon to CF, who'da thunk.  The willingness and the attitude comes as quite a shock to the 'Frame, and that really is all Dr. D is looking for.  Show him the first step of an African Ibexx and the disposition to learn, and he'll show you a player who is going to be perfectly fine in CF.  Gordon's last three full years bestowed 3.3, 4.8, and 3.3 WAR on his beneficiaries.

Dee Gordon -- on TV Friday, for those wanting a first glimpse -- is THIS close to giving the Mariners a Kenny Lofton-type player in CF.  And that would be Jerry Dipoto's 2nd or 3rd brightest idea since he got here (Haniger).


Dr D




Dee Gordon really has, since the day after the trade to come to Seattle, impressed me with his attitude--and demonstrated with his comportment precisely why he was able to go from below-average SS to GG-winning 2B after a mid-career shift.  2B-->CF ain't gonna be no thang ;-)

Had to look up Lofton's #'s after you posted the pic.  Amazing to me he doesn't get more recognition than he does, but I suppose it's tough getting respect as a burner playing in Rickey's shadow, period-wise.

Dee Gordon will have as big of an impact on the offense as anyone outside of Boomstick, in my estimation.  It's not going to *look* as impressive, but that elite baserunning is something that can warp games all by itself.


Even though Rickey was my favorite player for many years.  Raines too, who lived in the same shadow.  I've considered them all HOF worthy for quite awhile.  Lofton accrued only slightly less WAR and many other counting stats compared to Raines in 6 less seasons.  They both had exactly 1 .300/.400/.500 season at age 27 then never again. 

If you asked me who would have the biggest impact I'd be torn between Gordon, Cruz, Cano, Zunino, Haniger and still be considering that Seager or Segura could be that guy.  Thankfully we don't have to pick just one, we get to enjoy all their efforts. 


There were a couple of years when I considered Raines the best player in the game.  Man, could he play.

Dipoto couped the league on the Gordon thing.  It was a great move, better than the Diaz conversion in my mind.  But I would place the Segura/Haniger trade as his best move.  It's actually Segura that makes that trade such a killer, in my mind.  How many .300 hitting, good glove, 2-position All Star, MIF's do you find for $13M per?  He still reminds me of a Clemente-lite at the plate.  

I still like the Gamel get (a lot), too.  And I believe the Dipoto thinks he found something very nice in Mike Ford.  I do, too.  

BTW, am I the only guy here who thinks that John Andreoli might challenge Heredia for the 4th OF spot?  Heredia's .591 vR career OPS is pretty limiting (although he is interesting vs. LHP).  He's kind of like Dyson, but with a wrong-way split.  He's got a glove, I will give you that, but I see him as pretty expendable, considering the glovey guys we have in Tacoma.


Andreoli and Junior Lake are the 2 I'm watching.  For me it isn't that I don't believe in Heredia, it's that I believe he can improve with more time to work on things.  He's hardly had any time in the minors yet his EYE is among the best on the team.  It's what happens once he makes contact and what happens when he's on the bases that can improve.

Junior Lake spent 2012-15 in AAA mostly with the Cubs affiliate in Iowa hitting .299/.374/.425.  533 PA, 41XBH, 56 BB, 117 K.  Iowa in 2014 had a PF of only 101 in contrast to most of the PCL.  In 2013 it was also neutral, or slightly better for hitters than Cheney.  At home he put up .330/.376/.543 in 2013.  He's a Dominican like Cano, Cruz, Segura, etc. but then that didn't seem to help Marte.  He isn't a plus CF, even though he has the speed but he started out as a SS/3b, moved to CF, played 1b and 2b at times and plenty of COF.  Somehow nobody lists him as a Utility option.  I see a potential Super-sub, even if it's not likely he's super.  27 with experience, you say?  If he's your 4th OF and Motter or Romine, etc. is your other non-C on the bench then you could have the versatility needed to play with a short bench. 


He once showed that he could hit MLB pitching. I'm with you and would like to thinkhe's got it again. He's going to have to show something in Tacoma first, I think.  Except for 6 1B games, he hasn't played anything other than OF since '13.  He's likely behind Bishop, both are behind Andreoli, who had another knock and a nice catch today.  Romine with two hits.

If I am Andreoli, I am begging to get some 1B time.  I think he can make this squad.  And I always thought Romine would. 


both have looked good in the OF so far.  Both look like they can produce something at the plate and on the bases.

Romine has looked good and bad on the bases already.  But then Motter has only looked bad there that I've seen. 


Saw his attempt to go first to third in yesterday's game and said to myself "Motter, what the heck are you doing out there?" Not sure why he thought he'd get to third on a medium pace fliner with the right fielder playing shallow.


That's not a bad call, Matty.  He's a level better than Pierre, IMHO.  

Lofton walked 77, 83, 63, 52, 55, 72 and 91 points through the height of his career.  That averages out to almost exactly 70 pts a season.  Gordon has walked 37, 26, 37 and 33 pts.  But if Edgar can impact that up to 50-55 pts, then he gets to Doc's "this close" to Lofton.


Pierre's career slash line:

.295/.343/.361 (his career SB% was 75%)

Gordon's career slash line:

.293/.329/.367 (his career SB% is 78%)

Pierre was an average fielder in his prime and a terrible one every year after his age 33 season
Gordon we don't know yet.

In fairness to Gordon, Pierre played in a better era for contact hitters...a time in which the league average BABIP was .310 or so for most of his career, where, now, it's .290 or so.

Also in fairness to Gordon, Pierre's slash includes a 20 year career and Gordon is really just into the first half of his peak after a long slow start.

But I don't see a giant separation between them. And Pierre never struck out, whereas Gordon's K/BB ratio is 3.1, which makes it harder for him to sustain a .300 average.


such as in 2011, when he had 700+ at bats with an -0.7 WAR.  So I'd say he's a little modest when you're comparing him to impact leadoff hitters.  23.9 WAR in 14 seasons is the definition of mediocrity.

Kenny Lofton's walks made him the best leadoff hitter of his generation and one of the 10 best players in the game; a good season for him was 5-7 WAR, not two or three.  Gordon's best game in CF would be REMINISICENT of Lofton, with the consistent .300/60 offense, not photographically-reproductive of it.

Gordon's last three full seasons have produced 3.3-4.8 WAR per year, which equal anything Lofton did AFTER his first 8 seasons.  Of course Gordon is at 6+ seasons himself and will be 30 this year, so the M's will have to watch for when those 3.5 WAR turn into 2.5.  Not in the next two-three years, I wouldn't guess, given the approach he takes (cf. Ichiro's 80 speed and GB ratio).

Maybe I shoulda said poor man's Ichiro :- )


...where Gordon was worth at least a win on defense almost every full year he had at the position.

I'm just saying, Doc...even if you take Pierre's peak years, he was a decent player, but hardly the sort of guy that makes or breaks a GM, and I don't see any significant difference between them. Pierre was a negative WAR player because his defense was lousy. It is not a given that Gordon will avoid this fate, though I suspect he will. And I'm not saying that Gordon is likely to be a bad player (I think he's likely to be a useful player) or that acquiring him was a bad move (it wasn't). I'm saying I don't see the excitement. I think it's every bit as likely that Gordon, playing in a park that murders GB BABIP, playing an unfamiliar position, and lacking in good plate discipline (Pierre had that going for him...Gordon does not), he manages 2 WAR as managing 3.5+.


Because Pierre was one of those guys that couldn't turn his plus-plus speed into plus defense.  However if you look at just Offense on fangraphs Gordon is a step up on Pierre. 


And your argument is sensible.  We'll put you down for 2.0 WAR for Gordon :- )

Personally I think the plus-plus-plus SPD, and the 2.5 GB ratio, is a trick that allows for repeatability upon fingersnap, and is one of the reasons Ichiro's own WAR was 5, 5, 5, like clockwork all the way through age 36-37.  Put me down for 3.0-4.0 for Gordon.



Hey Doc!  Did you notice Dee changed his batting stance in September?  The results seem to be much better contact (he ran an .800 OPS without walking).  I'd love to get your thoughts on whether it's a long term improvement that might presage a new offensive level.

Before (August 20th)

After (September 30th)

He clearly has a wider stance, and it seems like his shoulders line up a little different, but this is far from anything I'm good at.  He certainly looks more intent in September.


Hadn't noticed at all.  Will take a look so as to get an article up, and we'll all be able to watch for that this spring.  Such a plateau leap doesn't seem impossible, given Gordon's speed down the line.

It's not many ballplayers who play Ichiro's game, and I enjoy seeing a few sprinkled into the 240-lb Basher mix that baseball features these days :- ) 


I hadn't heard any such comments about a stance change. And, of course, I tuned in to the game today right AFTER his first at-bat and my reception was HORRIBLE during the second at-bat. He's much, much lower...not just wider. In the 30th vid, he is way down in a crouch with an open stance - he was good at hitting pitches away and swung at them as a result (before the change) so he was prone to sucker-pitches, especially from righty change-up and lefty-slider pitchers. an open stance would force him to stay off of those away pitches and the low stance would forcibly reduce his bat through-speed (dial back his aggression...even though he's a slap hitter, he swings very hard for that player type from what I've seen...possibly helping to explain the high K rate) and get him to focus on a smooth, level swing.

That is what I see in those snapshots anyway.

That wouldn't do much to his power numbers because he gets most of his doubles on fliners and bloops anyway, but would probably lower his K rate. If he can get the K rate down from 24% to 16%, we have a very different upside opening up.


...we learned today that Dee Gordon is a lethal bunter. Like...the best I've seen on the Mariners since Ichiro's younger years.


Leading off his first Root televised game with a chopper off home plate for a single.  Romine follows with a beauty bunt base hit, error on the throw and Gordon's at 3rd.  Pitcher should have just kept the ball. Strikeout, Ford check-swing-HBP and bases loaded 1 out PA for Hague.  DP grounder...Gordon being the only certain starter in the lineup today may affect the run scoring a bit.  Motter TOOTBLAN certainly did, would have probably scored the first run of the game 2 pitches later if he doesn't go past 2nd and get caught before getting back.


In the "After" clip, his feet are way more open in the box.  In the first clip, there appears to be almost no body rotation as he "loads" up.  He gets very little reach with his arms, almost no hip turn and just a touch of shoulder turn. Moving toward the pitch, it is a total slappy effort, all arms.  But it looks like the "After" change has him loading/rotating/extending more as he toe taps and steps toward the plate/pitch (a longer move from the open position).  Stop 3 seconds into the 2nd video and it looks like he is in position to almost hurt a pitch.  Stop 4 seconds into the "Before" pitch and it is a completely different position.  I will admit that the pitch location is different for the two clips, but he is much more loaded in the 2nd clip.

I would have bet a bunch that he had to show more power from that "After" position.  If you check out his monthly splits on B-R, you will see that he slugged .455 in Sept, easily his best month of the season.  His previous high was .391.  Back in '15, he was north of .400 in 4 different months, but had none between April '16 and Sept. '17.  '15 was his best slugging season (almost all 2B's and 3B's).  Here's his highlight clip from that season.  It looks like he played with stance changes then, too.  But the more open he is, the more rotation he gets and the more he hurts the ball.

Interesting.  Nice catch Mal.


I'm of the opinion that it will improve his XBH potential.  I noticed the change because when I searched his 95+ contact, he had 6-7 in September vs 11 the rest of the season.  I agree with Moe entirely in terms of his improved approach and the sense of impending damage vs slappage in the earlier clip.

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