Dee Gordon was selected to his first All-Star game when rosters were revealed Sunday in what was another accomplishment for the former shortstop.
Last season was another struggle for Gordon, who seemed unable to do much of anything well enough to warrant a spot on the Dodgers’ roster. He wasn’t with the team on Opening Day and appeared in just 38 games with the Dodgers.
After working out in center field during the off-season, Gordon entered Spring Training as one of the group of players who were vying for the starting job at second base. He won the job with the aid of an open conversation with first base coach Davey Lopes and said the position change has helped him settle in, according to Samantha Zura of the LA Times:
Just moving to second in general made me feel more comfortable, so that’s helped me a lot,” Gordon said.
Third base coach Lorenzo Bundy noticed a change in Gordon with him now at second base and believes it’s contributed to his improved production with the bat:
After we made the change [to second base], I think it’s relaxed him so much defensively that it’s allowed his offensive game to return also.”
Gordon is hitting .298 this season, which is his highest average since batting .304 in 56 games during his rookie season. His .352 OBP, .763 OPS and 2.1 WAR all are career-highs for the 26-year-old.
The transition to second base hasn’t been flawless for Gordon as he’s committed seven errors, but he’s been markedly better defensively than he was at shortstop. Logan White, vice president of scouting, stated Gordon needed to take a step back and not just rely on his athleticism:
The higher you go, the quicker the game is, and I think he needed to learn how to just slow the game down. And I’m talking mentally, just to slow it down and not rush and get excited because he’s such a quick accelerator, fast-twitch-muscle guy, everything else.”
Despite the errors, Gordon ranks ninth in fielding percentage (.982) among qualified National League second baseman. His speed and range have helped him track down fly balls in no-man’s land and get to grounders hit in the hole.
Gordon is on pace to have the best season of his Major League career and despite all the praise and success he’s experienced, he remains humble and focused on the Dodgers’ goal of winning a World Series.
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