For two straight years, Dee Gordon, son of former All Star reliever Tom Gordon, was listed among Baseball America’s top 50 prospects thanks to a slick glove in the field and blinding speed on the base paths. He got his first taste of the big leagues back in 2011 and over a 56 game span that saw him come to the plate 233 times, Gordon hit .304 with 34 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. But in 2012, when he was given the starting shortstop gig to open the season, Gordon struggled mightily at the plate. Yes, he swiped 32 bases over 87 games, but he also hit just .228 and had a woeful .280 on-base percentage. He was shipped back down to Triple-A and his overall fantasy value took a hit. And when the Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez and announced that he would play shortstop in 2013, Gordon became even more of a forgotten man as there was, obviously, no room for him on the big league roster. Well guess what? He’s baaaaaaaaack!
When Hanley went down the first time, despite playing well in the minors, Gordon was left at Trriple-A in favor of a Justin Sellers/Luis Cruz tandem on the left side of the infield. Sellers was moderately passable with decent range in the field, but with a .191/.267/.250 slash line, his ineptitude with the bat was becoming more and more frustrating. Cruz, in the meantime, was filling in for the injured Juan Uribe and doing it with a .095 average with almost nothing to show for in the counting stats. The only way the Dodgers could have fielded a less productive pair of infielders was if they asked me to play both positions at the same time. Meanwhile, Gordon was posting a .314/.397/.431 slash line at Triple-A Albuquerque with 10 extra-base hits and 14 stolen bases over 102 at-bats. The time for change was necessary.
So here we are now with Gordon finally receiving the call-up and going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases in his debut. What so you do now? Do you blow your FAAB budget to acquire him? Are you sold on his ability to play with the big boys here and excel? Can he be a trusted member of your starting fantasy roster?
Personally, I say yes to all of the above. Well, within reason. Considering we just entered the month of May, I’m not going to spend the rest of my budget on him as the season is long and, as we’ve seen, injuries are prevalent. But given the level of talent and the fact that stolen bases are, on the whole, down this year, adding a potential burner like Gordon could be a huge difference-maker in your league. I don’t think he’s going to rake at a .300-plus level this season, but I do have enough confidence in him to hit for a decent average, get on-base at a strong rate and swipe a ton….and yes, I mean a ton….of bases.
The fact that he “failed” last season is something you’ll be able to use to your advantage, For whatever reason, it’s his struggles last year that everyone seems to remember and not the fact that he was one of the top prospects in the game for the years before. If you couple that with the casual fan’s misconception that he can get stolen bases from virtually anywhere, you at least won’t find yourself in a huge bidding war. You’ll have to compete with a few of the smarter, more savvy owners in your league, but the moron who is likely to throw 90-percent of his remaining budget on the flavor of the week/month, is looking for someone else who hasn’t failed in the majors already.
And for those concerned with Gordon heading back to the minors after Hanley’s hamstring heals? Fear not. While Gordon is establishing himself as a big league shortstop and feared adversary on the bases, Uribe will have put his .230 average on full display at third and the Dodgers will wisely decide to move Hanley back to the hot corner. So now, you not only have a solid shortstop and stolen base threat for this month, but you’ve got it for the remainder of the season with the added bonus of said commodity sitting atop the Dodgers’ lineup with the likes of Hanley, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez doing their part to knock him in on a regular basis. Win, win.
Now let’s look at some of the top performances from Saturday….
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B DET||4-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB|
Maybe he’s not forgotten, but could today’s selection be any more boring? Ho-hum. Mr. Triple Crown winner. Mr. MVP. Blah blah blah. Perhaps I’m just a wee bit bitter that out of 11 leagues this year, I don’t own Miguel Cabrera in a single one. I never saw a pick higher than third in any snake draft and I just wasn’t committed enough to blow such a high percentage of my auction dollars on one player. Maybe next time I should. Cabrera isn’t just a beast on this day; he’s a beast every day. And the fact that he’s used at third base, a veritable wasteland of injuries this year, makes him all the more valuable. Should you own him, enjoy. I’m sure you love the tons of lousy offers you get for him on a near-daily basis. Unless you’re so blown away by an offer AND it would lock you into a top finish for the season, there’s simply no reason that would justify trading him.
|Alfonso Soriano, OF CHC||2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB|
|Michael Saunders, OF SEA||3-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B CLE||3-4, 2 R, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, SB|
|Jeremy Guthrie, SP KC||W, CG, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 3 K|
|Jose Fernandez, SP MIA||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.29 WHIP, 9 K|
While Gordon seems to be a forgotten man on a newbie prospect level, Alfonso Soriano tends to be a forgotten man in general these days. No, he’s not hitting 35-plus homers and swiping 30-plus bags these days, but he’s still good for 25-30 homers on average with a small handful of steals. He’s not top outfield quality anymore and because of that, people tend to overlook him. Those who don’t, know that they’re getting solid power numbers for very little cost. If you don’t own him, try trading for him. You’d probably be surprised as to how little it will cost you to get him.
Remember Michael Saunders? A near 20-20 season last year put him atop a ton of sleeper lists heading into this year, but a sprained shoulder landed him on the disabled list and suddenly he was off the radar and actually on numerous waiver wires. Now in the lineup again, Saunders is ready to make some noise, so you may want to pay attention to him again. Once a guy has a two-homer game, it’s tough to negotiate a trade, but you never know what it will cost until you ask.
No, seriously. Some dude in one of my leagues…..and supposedly a very competitive league, dropped Jason Kipnis during his early season elbow woes/struggles at the plate. I was shocked. Dumbfounded. Did he not remember the level of production Kipnis provided last season? Was three-quarters of a month enough of a slump to totally sour people on him? Buffoons! He now sits on my roster in that league along with four other leagues as well and I’m loving the power/speed combo at the keystone now.
You don’t get much more forgotten than Jeremy Guthrie, do you? The guy single-handedly destroyed fantasy dreams everywhere before he arrived in Kansas City, blowing up ratios like Wile E. Coyote with an Acme dynamite plunger. He fell so far off the radar that when I did draft him this year, I was openly mocked by the entire league. Well, he’s now 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA over 41.1 innings and while his strikeout rate isn’t the sexiest, the rest of the numbers are all falling into a very good place. I will point out that his FIP is at 4.45 which could indicate that he is due for a decline of some sort, so he could be a solid sell-high candidate. Just keep pointing to his KC numbers when negotiating as someone will be enticed.
And then there’s Jose Fernandez. Maybe not truly forgotten, but after a trio of less-than-spectacular outings, he was being pushed aside as someone who was in need of a demotion back to Double-A from whence he came. This start, however, shows that he’s learning and obviously open to making adjustments, something so few youngsters are willing to do. I’m not saying he’ll be the be-all, end-all, but he’s definitely not someone to be cast aside just because of a few rough patches.
|Brandon Belt, 1B SF||0-4, BB, 3K|
|Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI||0-3, 3 K|
|Albert Pujols, 1B LAA||0-4, 2K|
|Matt Magill, SP LAD||ND, 33.75 ERA, 7.50 WHIP, 2 K|
|Lucas Harrell, SP HOU||L, 16.62 ERA, 3.23 WHIP, 3 K|
After going 3-for-10 with two home runs and six RBI in the series against Arizona, it looked as if Brandon Belt was finally getting it. But an 0-for-7 run here against the Dodgers is making it awfully difficult to continue believing in this guy. I’m not ready to give up, but unless I start to see some more consistency in May, he’s going to be relegated to some serious bench duty. Temporarily gone….but certainly not forgotten.
Nothing really to say about Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols as neither is going to perform day in and day out. But both have phenomenal power to offer and so you accept days like this. Just comes with the territory. More for Howard than Pujols, but you’ll still take it.
As for Lucas Harrell and Matt Magill, well, the sensible fantasy owner in you kept them from your roster in the first place, so we can all move along from here…
Juan Francisco, 3B ATL – ankle (day to day)
Chris Davis, 3B BAL – knee (day to day)
Miguel Gonzalez, SP BAL – thumb (day to day)
Andrew Bailey, RP BOS – biceps (day to day)
Jake Peavy, SP CHW – back (likely to miss May 5 start)
Vinnie Pestano, RP CLE – elbow (likely headed to 15-day DL)
Dexter Fowler, OF COL – hip (day to day)
Scott Downs, RP LAA – ribs (day to day)
Mark Ellis, 2B LAD – leg (day to day)
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B LAD – neck (day to day)
Donovan Solano, 2B MIA – leg (day to day)
David Robertson, RP NYY – hamstring (day to day)
Chris Young, OF OAK – quadriceps (15-day DL)
Jose Tabata, OF PIT – hamstring (day to day)
Angel Pagan, OF SF – hamstring (day to day)
Yunel Escobar, SS TB – wrist (day to day)
David Murphy, OF TEX – illness (day to day)
Ricky Romero, SP TOR – forearm (day to day)
Denard Span, OF WAS – foot (day to day)
Jayson Werth, OF WAS – hamstring (out until May 7)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a vaiety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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