Dee Gordon Fast Becoming A Favorite

Dee Gordon has been on fire since returning from the disabled list.

Dee Gordon is a fascinating study in head versus heart in baseball fandom. He had four more hits on Thursday, giving him 16 hits in 31 at-bats in his last seven games since getting activated from the disabled list. But even with his hot streak, on the season he is batting only .296/.306/.352. To be fair to Gordon though, National League shortstops this season are hitting .260/.314/.372 so his production holds up decently enough.

There are reasons for concern with Gordon at the plate, even during his hot streak. In 145 plate appearances, he has just two walks against 22 strikeouts, and has gone 93 PA since his last walk. Earlier this season, during Gordon's first stint with the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly noticed pitchers were challenging the 150-pound Gordon more in MLB than they were in Triple A. "They throw strikes here. They're going to force him to swing the bat," Mattingly said.

With the team currently in bankruptcy and an ownership situation unlikely to be resolved until at least 2012, there is no real way of accurately predicting the Dodger payroll budget for the next few years. But no matter the payroll, reasonably productive players making at or near the league minimum are always valuable, which means Gordon is here to stay, assuming he can keep hitting at a rate reasonably close to his numbers so far this season.

While I remain skeptical of Gordon's offensive production, I must confess something: I can't look away when he is at the plate.

Gordon's speed is intoxicating. I have watched the Dodgers pretty religiously since 1985 and Gordon is the fastest player I have ever seen in a Dodger uniform. If you don't pay attention when Dee is at the plate or on the bases, you might just miss out on something great.

There was the game against the Angels in late June when Gordon scored the tying run from third base in the ninth inning on a fly ball to very short center field, electrifying the crowd.  There was the game in Anaheim in July when Gordon stole second, third, and home in one inning. Then there was last Saturday in Atlanta, when Gordon turned a routine single to center field in the 10th inning into a standup double, and eventually scored the winning run.

Gordon also has 17 stolen bases in just 37 games, the best start on the basepaths by a Dodger since 1919:

Most Steals By A Dodger, First 37 Games Of Career
Player Year Stolen Bases
Dee Gordon 2011 17
Davey Lopes 1972-1973 15
Rudy Law 1978,1980 14
Mariano Duncan 1985 10

Pitchers will make adjustments to Gordon, and he will slump. At times, the ride will be bumpy. But I'm fully on board. Bring on the Dee Gordon Era. It will be fun.

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