We’re getting close to crunch time for the Dodgers, and they’re going to have to come to a decision on the roster, and who’s going to be playing in the opening series in Australia. The big discussion all spring has centered around who’s going to start at second base. Dee Gordon? Or Alexander Guerrero.
The likelihood of Dee Gordon becoming the starting second baseman is becoming louder and louder by the day. At least that’s what we’ve been hearing. Now I just wrote an article about how good Gordon looks good at second base. I meant what I wrote. Gordon looks good there. He’s made huge progress defensively. He’s obviously put in a lot of work, and has impressed everyone there this spring. He deserves credit for that, and I applaud his efforts.
But let’s be honest here, and get down and dirty. Gordon still can’t hit. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. So this huge sweeping narrative of Dee Gordon major leaguer, Alexander Guerrero minor leaguer is such nonsense, it makes me want to vomit.
As of right now, the starting second baseman is probably either going to be Gordon, or Guerrero. There’s nobody else that stands much of a chance, or stands out. Yeah I know Justin Turner, and Chone Figgins are still around, but let’s be honest, both of them are utility players at best.
So then it comes down to Gordon versus Guerrero, and there shouldn’t even be a discussion. Guerrero wins the battle hands down. I know Guerrero isn’t Yasiel Puig, but to say he’s on the level of a minor league prospect is very narrow-minded. Guerrero has played at the highest professional levels in Cuba for more than five years. He was an all-star member of the Las Tunas club, and played for the Cuban National team. Just because he’s never played in the major leagues doesn’t mean his skill level is that of a minor leaguer.
Yes he’s switching from shortstop to second base, and yes that’s a difficult switch. But he’s looked just fine defensively in spring. He was a bit tentative at first, but now he’s starting to get the hang of second base, or so it seems.
Let’s look at the numbers. I know spring numbers are meaningless, however, Dee Gordon has only five hits this spring. He’s 5 for 27, which comes out to a .185 batting average, and a .267 OBP. Basically Gordon doesn’t hit, and can’t get on base. Guerrero on the other hand has 7 hits in 26 at-bats, (.269), with a home run, and a triple in 12 games. This is all small sample, and Guerrero only has two more hits than Gordon, and of course spring numbers are meaningless. I’m just using this as an example to illustrate that Gordon’s .185 average is about what he’s probably going to hit in the majors. Remember Guerrero hit over .300 in Cuba, and Gordon’s career MLB average is .256, with a .301 OBP. Gordon batted .234 (22 for 94) in 2013. For all of Gordon’s speed, he’s had just five hits. Gordon has been punch-less in spring.
What I’m driving at here is that Guerrero just looks better at the plate. Guerrero has a sweet fluid powerful swing. He drives the ball with authority. He makes contact. He has power. He can get on base. Gordon doesn’t do any of that.
It’s a shame because with Gordon’s amazing speed he would be a very dangerous weapon. But Gordon can’t get on base. He can’t make regular contact, nor can he drive the ball. Again he’s been focusing too much on bunting. He should be worried about making contact and finding the gaps. Not bunting. We don’t need a guy that can bunt, we need a guy that can hit. God I hate bunting. But I digress.
The point is Guerrero can hit and Gordon doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense to start a guy at second base who can’t hit above the Mendoza line, over a guy who could hit 25 home runs. Where’s the logic in that. Where’s the end game there? Yes Gordon looks good defensively, but is he that much better than Guerrero? I don’t think so.
I like Gordon. I have no problem with him making the roster, and I think he will. But there is no way he should be the starting second baseman over Guerrero. Not a chance.
I think both men will make the roster. I think what will happen is Mattingly will do a platoon with both men at second base. Mattingly loves to mix and match. Actually, I can live with a platoon of Gordon/Guerrero at the keystone. As long as Guerrero gets some playing time. Remember Guerrero needs to learn the different major league ball parks, and pitchers, and can’t do that down in Chattanooga.
Having an automatic out in the lineup is the worst thing possible. If Gordon can’t hit his weight, than he’s nothing more than an automatic out. We’ve learned over the last few years, that you can’t have automatic outs in your lineup and expect to score runs. Even one auto out in the lineup can screw your scoring chances. Lousy offense has sunk the club many times. Never exchange offense for defense, unless it’s late game defensive substitutions. Hopefully Gordon can figure out how to hit.
Unfortunately, public opinion is weighing down on Don Mattingly. It can be bigger than you think, and right now it’s overwhelmingly in favor of Gordon. I hope that Mattingly can read between the lines, ignore the misguided public opinion, and give Guerrero a chance. As for Gordon, the age-old adage holds true. You can’t steal first base.