The news broke early today that Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon will be facing an 80 game suspension for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Gordon is a two time AllSstar and reigning batting champ, so his loss has a lot of members of the Fish Family freaking out, but if you take a deep breath and a step back this is not as big a deal as it seems at first.
Gordon’s batting average last season was highly publicized, .333 and good for first in the majors. Unfortunately when you dig just a little bit deeper into that batting line, you see that he had a power iso of .085, the definition of a slap hitter.
You might be thinking that is not a big deal, he is a lead off guy and his job is to get on base at a high clip. That is true, and the reason his total 27 walks last season are such a huge problem. Because he walked so rarely Dee finished the season with a .359 OBP, not terrible but also only ranking as 36th in the league. Leading the league in average is impressive no doubt, but if it does not translate to a great OBP, it is nothing but a nice sideshow.
Next let us discuss Gordon’s famous base stealing. Flash led the majors last season with 58 steals, 15 more than 2nd place Charlie Blackmon. Again impressive, but much like his BA, there is a second story that is less well known. Gordon also led the league in being caught stealing, a whopping 20 times. He is basically the Adam Dunn of base stealing, he runs too often and with Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton in your lineup you want runners on as often as possible.
The big question is who steps into the role, the answer is likely a combination of Derek Dietrich and Miguel Rojas. Dietrich will likely take the starting role, and with his bat in the lineup this may soon seem like a blessing in disguise. Unfortunately Deets’s defense at second has left a great deal to be desired, and that is where Rojas comes in. The other part of the Gordon trade, Rojas is a slick fielding bench shortstop that should be taking over the spot in the late innings. It might seem like a lot for Donnie Baseball to keep track of , but it is really only one substitution a game.
The biggest impact this suspension will have on the Marlins roster is likely on the bench. No matter what the Marlins do they will be utilizing their only acceptable player not currently in the starting lineup. There is no one else to go to if some one goes down, this was likely the thinnest roster in the entire majors coming into the season, and now they have lost a guy they counted on to be an everyday player.
At the end of the day Dee Gordon is a very good, but not a great player. He is overrated because of how exciting his play style is, as he depends far too much on BABIP luck to be reliable. Ultimately this hurts the Marlins by stretching their resources, not necessarily through the on field product.