It isn’t the first time that Chad Moriyama pumps out an idea before I can get around to it, and it won’t be the last. Dee Gordon is absolutely everything we thought he would be, and I mean as both a positive and a negative. He’s showing patience. He’s making mistakes on the basepaths. He’s scoring runs that potentially no other player in the game could manage. He’s getting to balls; he’s bobbling balls. He’s everything, and he’s nothing.
Chad goes into this in great detail, complete with GIFs, and it’s more than worth your time to read through. I couldn’t agree more with his conclusion:
Flaws and all, fans understandably tend to side with Dee because of the “wow” moments he brings to the table, stuff that guys with less raw talent simply can’t even fathom doing. Dee is made for mind-blowing bursts of speed and flair that lead to extreme excitement, but he often follows that with the lulls of fundamental inadequacy and lack of baseball skills, which is the part people tend to gloss over too easily.
My point? For all that highs and lows so far, his WAR on the year is 0. There’s probably not much more fitting a grade than that.
Now, since he’s getting time at short rather than the decidedly sub-replacement Justin Sellers & Luis Cruz, perhaps that’s good enough. (And forgive me for actually using WAR at this ridiculously early point in the season, but it’s merely part of the larger point.) But I really do think Chad is dead-on there. When Gordon makes a jaw-dropping play that no one else can do, that’s the highlight you remember; that’s what sticks with you when you wonder why he’s not treated as a star. That’s always going to stand out over the bobbled ball that costs a double play and may not even lead directly to a run, but it shouldn’t; baseball doesn’t work that way.
So far, so good for Gordon, because even being a replacement-level player is a big upgrade over the mess we saw last year, and I can’t lie that the fan in me loves watching the great things he can do. Still, if he’s going to prove that he deserves to stick around and possibly even shift Hanley Ramirez to third at some point, the boring, unexciting everyday skills have to improve.
As for the other player — not you, Scott Van Slyke — that fans have been demanding to see? I’ve been saying all along that Yasiel Puig isn’t ready, and today we have further evidence. Bill Shaikin alerted us the other day that Puig tossed his bat after getting called out on strikes, and I hardly have to remind you that bat-tossing has been an ongoing issue for him.
Shaikin came upon that report based on a tweet from Mike Newman of FanGraphs and the excellent RotoScouting.com — subscribe now, because he’s based near Chattanooga and sees & reports on tons of Lookouts games — and Newman’s been kind enough to provide video of yet another Puig incident.
I know that many people say, “so what? As long as he’s hitting, that’s all that matters.” But it’s really not. These continued antics will either lead to a fastball to the teeth or him getting ejected 40% of the time, and trust me when I say that the front office is keenly aware of this kind of behavior. (He’s also in a bit of a slump, hitting .205/.271/.455 over his last ten games.) As we’ve discussed, “being ready” isn’t just about hitting the curveball.