Projecting the 2018 Seattle Mariners: Dee Gordon
In, perhaps the biggest move made by the Mariners this off-season, Dee Gordon was acquired from the Marlins to be the new every day center fielder. Which shouldn’t be a problem because Gordon has never played this vital position.
Maybe you can tell from my tone, but I am highly skeptical of the Mariners plan in the outfield. The Mariners are basically handing over the reigns to a Top 3 defensive position to a guy who has played a grand total of 7 innings of outfield in the past decade. Those 7 innings where in the Dominican summer league.
Is Dee Gordon an incredible athlete? Yes. Does he have the speed and acceleration to make a transition to the outfield? Yes. And if speed and acceleration where all it took to be a premier defender in the outfield, I would love this idea. But it is not.
There are numerous small details that make an elite outfielder. These are things that can only be learned through playing out there. Pursuit angles, reads, alley communication, cuts, and playing balls off the wall are all things that do not naturally come along with speed and athleticism.
Now, Gordon is such a good athlete, that to the layman, he will look like a good outfielder immediately. But his defense early in the season will be a pivotal factor for the Mariners run prevention.
Offensively, Gordon’s game is pretty straight forward. He is a slasher at the plate. He is a burner on the bases. There is no power. Gordon does not walk. He puts the ball in play, and forces defenses to be perfect.
The approach has worked for Gordon, who slashed his way to a .308/.341/.375 mark, while terrorizing pitchers on the base paths. But Gordon is an AL player for the first time in his career. How he adjust will be key for the Mariners. Can he adjust quickly enough. Our verdict is:
Sodo Mojo’s Projections for Dee Gordon: 623 PA, 185 hits, 22 doubles, 7 triples, 1 home run, 49 steals, 22 walks, .308/.332/.373
As you can see, we have very few doubts about whether or not Gordon will help the Mariners offensively. His speed and bat control should protect him from a huge batting average drop, but his unwillingness to take a walk will hurt his OBP in year 1 in a new league.
Next: Projecting the 2018 Mariners: Mitch Haniger
The word of the year for Dee Gordon is “adjustment”. Gordon must make a quick adjustment to life in CF and to playing in a new ballpark and new league. If he can, a 3 win season seems possible. But this situation has a possibility to be a failure for the Mariners, and a 2 win season may be just as likely an outcome.