When Dee Gordon was recalled in June, most of us were torn between “wow, Dee Gordon! This will be exciting!” and “this is far too soon, right?” In 30 games (26 starts) over the next two months sandwiched around a demotion and an injury , Gordon didn’t do much to change that impression, hitting just .234/.248/.270, yet providing a season’s worth of highlight-reel plays.
When Gordon returned on September 1 in the Pittsburgh makeup game, he had two hits, including a double. He had three the next day in Atlanta, a double the next night despite not getting into the game until the eighth inning, and three more in the final game against the Braves. After an ugly 0-5 on Monday in Washington, Gordon had three more hits on Tuesday – including a double against Stephen Strasburg that almost no one else in baseball could have stretched to two – and then a career-high four on Thursday afternoon. Since his return from the disabled list, Gordon is 16-31 with four doubles, and showing the usual combo of fantastic plays and botched easy plays on defense.
It’s not all gravy, of course; Gordon has drawn just two walks in 145 plate appearances. (Sidebar: let’s assume Gordon gets something like 200 plate appearances this season; only seven players since MLB integrated had that many PA without drawing more than two unintentional walks.) It’s pretty hard to have an acceptable slash line when you’re not drawing any walks, and his BABIP of 8.123 (may be slightly exaggerated) over that span isn’t likely to keep up.
All of which is a long way of saying that A) Gordon’s success has been really fun to watch this week, B) clearly he’s not going to keep it up, and C) most importantly, I think that as long as he stays healthy, there’s little chance the Dodgers won’t hand him the fulltime shortstop job headed into 2012. Why wouldn’t they? They’re not going to play Justin Sellers every day, and they already have at least two – possibly three – infield question marks.
On Twitter, realizing this, I offhandedly said, with little thought or research, to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA that given 500 plate appearances in 2012, Gordon’s line might look something like .275/.310/.340 with 38 steals and 31 errors. In retrospect, the steals might be too low, but considering that I saw replies from people both calling me far too optimistic and insisting he’d hit .300, I think that’s about in the sweet spot. Too high? Too low? Let’s hear your guesses.
Kenley Jansen, since returning from shoulder inflammation on June 18: 40 strikeouts, 10 walks, one earned run allowed, and five hits allowed (all singles) in 86 batters faced. Uh, yes please. The lack of attention he’s receiving is bordering on criminal.
Have fun this weekend, particularly with Clayton Kershaw looking to continue his run of domination against the Giants on Friday. (Remember what happened when he faced them in May? We bagged on Don Mattingly for choosing Juan Castro over Jerry Sands, Russ Mitchell, and Tony Gwynn to pinch-hit for Kershaw with the bases loaded, thus leading to Lance Cormier being asked to blow a tie game. Which he did. Ahhh, good times.) I’m off on a boat to an island. Chew on that for a while. See you Monday.