In 2014 everyone was on top of Billy Hamilton, while a certain second basemen in Los Angeles looked like a player labeled with “the wait and see approach.” Now, everyone’s looking for this year’s Dee Gordon, hoping to uncover a ton of cheap stolen bases.
Gordon entered spring in a position battle with Alex Guerrero, seemingly always in the dog house of manager Don Mattingly, and never seemed like he would be given the opportunity to shine.
If you took the wait-and-see approach with Gordon last year, you probably saw someone else win big money with him as their starting second baseman.
This Year’s Dee Gordon: 3 Candidates
So don’t wait and see who this year’s Dee Gordon will be. Take a chance with one of these three guys, and perhaps you will be running circles around the competition in September.
Jose Peraza, 2B, Atlanta Braves
Peraza is still really young (21) and has yet to play above Double-A, but only has Alberto Callaspo ahead of him on the depth chart in Atlanta. While he may still be a year away, Peraza’s speed is “Major League” ready. He has 124 stolen bases in his last two seasons in the Minor Leagues. In addition, he reached base at a .364 clip in 2014 and only struck out 47 times in 110 games between High-A and Double-A. With that said, he will need to walk more to be a premier lead-off hitter in the Major Leagues.
Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
I touch on Pompey a little bit in my list of outfield sleepers. I place him in the middle between Peraza and the outfielder below (James Jones) because he is just as raw as Peraza, but has just as much of an opportunity as Jones to grab hold of the everyday job out of Spring Training. If he can limit his strikeouts, he is capable of drawing walks, and obviously he has great speed or he would not be on the list. Across three levels of the Minor Leagues in 2014, he stole 43 bases in 50 attempts while posting a .317 batting average and .392 OBP. He has to beat out Kevin Pillar for regular at-bats, however.
James Jones, OF, Seattle Mariners
Jones had a semi-breakout year in 2014, but struggled to get on base towards the end batting .118 after the All-Star break. He only has Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith to beat out for the every day outfielder job in Seattle, and certainly has the wheels when given the opportunity. He stole 27 bases in 28 attempts last season and hit fairly consistently against both lefties and righties, despite the second half struggles. In 2,435 minor league at-bats, he has a career .283 batting average and .364 OBP. His biggest obstacle will be Austin Jackson batting at the top of the Mariners’ lineup.
Bonus Speedster Honorable Mention: Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee
Segura is an honorable mention merely for how bad his season was last year. He will obviously be drafted much higher than Gordon in 2014. Segura, meanwhile, had a great rookie campaign and then regressed horribly in 2014 (similar to Gordon in 2011-12). Don’t forget about Segura if he is hanging around too long in the draft. He might be our fourth candidate to be this year’s Dee Gordon.
Dee Gordon Photo Credit: Malingering
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