I’m pretty sure Dee Gordon has received plenty of praise and scrutiny over his career, but being called unpredictable is not something he may have thought of going into this season. The Marlins second baseman was named just that by ESPN.com in a list of players profiled in a piece by David Schoenfield, the website’s senior writer.
“What's worse than a player who underperforms or fails to meet expectations? One who can be great one day and horrid the next,” he writes as he talked about the biggest question mark for each Major League team as MLB moves closer to Spring Training.
“He was great in 2015, when he won the batting title, a Gold Glove and led the National League in hits and steals, but he tested positive for PEDs after that season -- reportedly during spring training last year -- and hit just .268/.305/.335 after serving his 80-game suspension. Gordon relies on batting average but lacks power and walks, so if he’s not hitting .300, he’s not bringing much to the table offensively.”
Gordon’s absence from the team was a major blow to their ability to put runners on the base pads at the top of the order.
Schoenfield also listed Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, Matt Harvey of the New York Mets, Vincent Velasquez of the Philadelphia Phillies and Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves to make up the biggest concerns of each team in the National League East.
If Miami is going to improve its run production, it has to count on Gordon reaching base, something manager Don Mattingly spoke of after the end of the 2016 season and the fact the Marlins must get more walks and move base runners around. When the Marlins announced that Barry Bonds had been hired last season to become the team’s hitting instructor, the thought was the team would take a much needed leap in terms of production at the plate.
That did not happen and was one of the reasons Bonds was not retained for the 2017 and was replaced by former New York Yankee and Mattingly’s former teammate Mike Pagliarulo,