Why hasn’t Dee Gordon emerged as a useful MLB player yet, right?
Well one play from yesterday’s game sort of summed up why he’s having so much difficulty.
On a clean single to left-center from Carl Crawford (yes, really), Dee freezes like it’s hit to the shortstop or something, then completely turns his left shoulder to look at the ball and identify the center fielder, which is something the runner should be doing before the pitch is thrown.
Thanks to the combination of his late jump and outstanding speed though, he’s sent home and is basically dead to rights at the plate, when he does whatever this is:
A hilarious, bumbling tackle/slide/dive fall into Miguel Montero‘s glove somehow works, and he gets the Dodgers a run.
Notice how after the fact he just lies there prone without touching the plate until Elian Herrera yells at him and points out that hey, maybe he should touch home.
The intangibles are off the charts, folks.
All jokes aside, that’s Dee Gordon in a nutshell.
His tools allow him to be sent in the first place and give us a glimpse into the 3-4 WAR potential player that scouts see (used to see?), while his lack of awareness and knowledge (of the rules?) on the play show why he’s a -2 WAR player in reality.
On the plus side, Gordon has a .405 OBP this spring, with eight walks and five strikeouts, plus seven stolen bases against no caught stealings. On the negative side, he’s hitting .241 with a .241 slugging for a grand OPS of .647.
Not that it really matters anyway, since he went .379/.446/.485/.931 last Spring Training, making the conversation before the 2012 season primarily about how many All-Star teams he was gonna make, not whether he can ever have any utility in the MLB like it is now.