Before I start this article, I need to let you know that I am a Dee Gordon owner, and a Dodgers fan, so you can decide whether to continue reading or not. If you want to continue reading, just know that Gordon's ADP per Mock Draft Central is 145.11. That is too low. And here is why.
I like to compare players who play the same position, and see where each is being drafted in mock drafts, as one can determine if Player A is being drafted too high/low and which player represents value on draft day. I think Gordon can be a similar fantasy performer as Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus I honestly don't know why Andrus gets so much love, as his ADP is more than 100 spots ahead of Gordon at 43.73. I think Gordon has the potential to be a more valuable fantasy shortstop than Andrus in 2012.
More on Dee Gordon after the jump:
Before I get into why Gordon will be more valuable that Andrus this season, there are about 30-40 guys being drafted after Andrus that I would rather have on draft day, that tells you how much I think Andrus is being overdrafted. Let's take a look at Andrus' career stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
|162 Game Avg.||162||605||94||164||22||5||4||49||37||12||59||90||.271||.340||.343||.683||80||208|
Andrus has little power, hits for an above league average batting average, and will steal 30+ bases for you annually. He had a solid season in 2011, hitting .279-.347-.361 with 5 HRs, 60 RBI 96 runs scored and 37 stolen bases in 49 attempts. So why is he being drafted in the 4th round? Because he is a shortstop?
Dee Gordon has always had his critics due to the fact that he started playing baseball at a very late age, he is as thin as a rail, doesn't hit for power and tends to throw the ball away a bit too much. It seems that Gordon takes the criticism and it motivates him to work that much harder. He has an off the charts work ethic and makeup, and has made it known that he wants to be the best shortstop in baseball. Now I am not here to tell you he will become the best shortstop in the game, but I do feel fantasy owners will look back at his ADP at the end of the 2012 season and wonder why he was drafted so low?
Let's take a look at Gordon's career stats, courtesy of Baseball Reference:
|162 Game Avg.||162||674||648||98||197||26||6||0||32||69||20||20||78||.304||.325||.362||.686||92||234|
Other than his 2010 season in AA, where he hit .277-.332-355, Gordon has hit over .300 in each of his 4 minor league seasons. Andrus never hit over .300 in the minors. Gordon stole over 50 bases twice in the minors, Andrus did it just once. Gordon OPS'd over .750 in 3 of his 4 years in the minors, Andrus OPS'd over .750 just once. Will Gordon continue to outperform Andrus in the big leagues? Time will tell.
Last year, Gordon made his major league debut, and proceeded to hit .304-.325-.362 in his 224 at bats. More importantly, he stole 24 bases in 31 attempts in those 224 at bats. He attempted a steal in approximately 48% of his stolen base opportunities (SB + CS/singles + walks). If one were to prorate Gordon's stats over a full year, or better yet, the same number of at bats that Andrus had last year, he would have scored 89 runs and stolen 63 bases. Andrus would have hit more home runs and driven in more runs, but the runs scored are very close and Gordon runs away in stolen bases. If you consider Andrus hits in a better lineup and in a better hitter's park, the difference in runs scored isn't all that much.
Gordon's fantasy value lies in his stolen base totals, period. Well, that and his batting average, but fantasy owners are drafting him for his steals. How many stolen bases will he have in 2012? I am projecting 50+, but that total could appear low at season's end.
Andrus will give you a .270 BA, 90 runs scored, 6 HRs, 55-60 RBI and around 35-40 stolen bases in 2012. Gordon should give you a similar, or better, batting average, around 90 runs scored, zero HRs, around 35-40 RBI and around 50-60 stolen bases. Is that a best case scenario for Gordon? Maybe. But, I am optimistic, as I have watched him play and he turns bunts into doubles, and soft dribblers into infield hits. The more infield hits he gets, the more opportunities to steal a base. For all those who say he doesn't walk enough, his OBP in his 224 at bats least year was slightly above the NL league average of .319, and other than his 2010 season, his lowest OBP in the minors was .362. How that translates in his first full season in the big leagues will go a long way toward determining his value going forward.
For those who haven't seen him play, here are some highlights from 2011.
Dee Gordon Highlights 2011 (via ThaHighlightReel)