Stick with me here guys, but I think Dee Gordon’s bunting is ruining his hitting. This isn’t another I hate bunting post, I promise. You already know how much I disdain bunting. It’s a failed strategy that rarely if ever directly leads to runs. However I admit that there are certain times when bunting is appropriate. For a young player like Dee Gordon, it is death to his offense.
It’s not the actual bunting that is screwing up Gordon’s at-bats, it’s the attempts to bunt that put him behind in the counts. Let’s take a look at some numbers to document this. First off, Dee is hitting just .224/.269/.266 with one home run and 15 RBIs at shortstop. He has 16 walks and 53 whiffs. He has also stolen 21 out of 28 in 66 games. I am not saying Gordon has been terrible per say, but he has definitely been bad at getting on base. His paltry .269 OBP stands out at you especially since he is the Dodger’s lead-off hitter. His 16BB/53K line makes you want to vomit.
Most of Dee’s at-bats go something like this….
Pitch-1 Gordon shows bunt, while taking strike one, usually down the pipe.
Pitch-2 Gordon shows bunt, or tries to bunt and either fouls off the pitch, or takes for strike two.
Pitch-3 Gordon now in a hole 0-2, takes third pitch for ball
Pitch-4 Gordon now still behind in count 1-2, pathetically whiffs or looks at strike three.
There you have Dee Gordon’s typical at-bat, unless he lays down a bunt, which he sometimes does and is normally thrown out. The thing is, it’s the bunt attempts that are ruining Dee Gordon’s hitting. Those bunt attempts and the showing of bunt and pulling the bat back are putting him behind in the counts, often times burying him in an 0-2 hole immediately. The count is so important in Baseball. Let me show you why.
When Dee Gordon is behind in the count, he is almost an auto out. When Gordon is behind 0-2, he is hitting .206 (7 for 34) with 14 whiffs and no walks. When Gordon is behind in the count 1-2, he is batting .156 (7 for 45) with 19, yes 19 whiffs and no walks.
When Gordon has the count at 2-2, he is hitting .154 6 for 39 with 13 whiffs. And finally, when Gordon has the count full, he is batting an atrocious .067 1 for 15.
1-2 count -.156
2-2 count – .154
3-2 count -.067
However, when Dee is ahead in the count he generally fares a lot better. Most hitters do of course, however look at how other guys are good at getting two strike hits like A.J. Ellis. Unfortunately he is rarely ever ahead in counts anyways. The numbers are as follows, when Dee is ahead in the count he is hitting .213 10 for 47 with 16 walks and seven whiffs. I know those numbers aren’t good, but still better than when he is behind in counts. His 16 walks when ahead in counts comprise the majority of his walks this season. When Dee swings at the first pitch, he is hitting .357, 15 for 42, with no whiffs. None. When Gordon is ahead 1-0, he is batting .313, 5 for 16, with no whiffs. When Dee Gordon has two strikes on him, he is batting .158. I think it is the bunt attempts that are putting him behind in counts on many of his at-bats. Basically once you get ahead of him, he’s out.
The problem is the Dodgers are trying to force Dee Gordon into something he is not. Reports came in saying Gordon was getting instruction from Maury Wills, perhaps the greatest bunter and base stealer of all time. The former Dodger speedster has taken young Dee under his wing to teach him the ways of the lead-off man.
The thing is, bunting just isn’t something that comes naturally for Dee, so his execution is terrible. I am not saying he can’t learn and improve, but I just think the Dodgers are trying to force him into being a type of player he is not. In case you are wondering, Dee only has four, yes four bunt singles all season long. Plain and simple, Dee is unable to bunt properly under any circumstances, whether it is bunting for a hit, or to move a runner over. It’s not working, and Dee needs to stop bunting.
What Dee Gordon should be concentrating on is working counts, getting on base, fine tuning his swing, hitting to the opposite field, and waiting back on breaking balls instead of constantly trying to bunt or show bunt.
I am not saying Gordon should be sent back to the minors or anything like that. At this point it is sink or swim for Gordon. I think Gordon is a good ballplayer with a lot of potential. We have seen him get hits and use his amazing speed to be the spark at the top of the lineup we know he can be. We have seen him make great plays on defense as well. The problem is he is just not making the necessary adjustments. One adjustment he needs to make is to cut his bunt attempts by half or at the least by 25%. Please forget about the bunting Dee and just focus on making contact. Learn the pitchers and their moves and what they throw. Read the scouting reports.
Since Dee was benched for a few days, he has been playing better, but it is still not enough. Can Dee figure it out and turn things around? I hope he does. So seriously Dee, please for the love of God, knock it off. Stop bunting!