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  1. It’s not weight that troubles me about Gordon. If Gordon had any chance to be the second coming of Ozzie Smith, that would be good enough. The problem is that he has nowhere near Smith’s defensive ability, and by age 22, Smith was already posting a positive W/K and continued to do so for his entire career, whereas Gordon strikes out about twice as often as he walks.

    Hell, even Lance Johnson walked more than he struck out in the minor leagues.

    Comment by Mike Green — September 29, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  2. Right (and said more succinctly than I did in the piece). He’s much more a slightly better defensive version of Tony Womack than a slightly worse defensive version of Ozzie Smith.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  3. We also have to keep in mind that Gordon was a late convert to baseball and is still considered exceedingly raw in all phases of his game. The fact that he held his own while skipping high-A can only be seen as a positive to me.

    With the amount of range that Gordon supposedly has, I do think he can be an elite defensive SS in time. Power will never be his game, but I like the rest of the package enough to be on board.

    Comment by jar75 — September 29, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  4. “This is how it is for skinny players — some good upside if you walk a lot (Butler, Raines), strike out a little (Johnson, Roberts), or play defense really well (Smith, Johnson). But if you don’t succeed in those areas, preferably more than one, performance potential slips fast.”

    Isn’t this true for any one without power, no matter how fat you are?

    Comment by regfairfield — September 29, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  5. Ha, fair point. Although looking at this sample, we’re talking about a lot of guys with NO power. Heavier people have a better chance of profiling to hit for some.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  6. How about Alexei Ramirez? He’s listed at 6’2″, 170 lbs. And the 170 is probably a little generous.

    Comment by MikeS — September 29, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  7. I think of Alexei kind of like I do Soriano. Super skinny, but they have real strong wrists, and get their power from there.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

  8. “He had room, and eventually did, to put on some weight.”

    lrn2 English.

    Comment by fjkagreklg — September 29, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  9. Fixed. Thanks … kind of.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  10. What about patience? If power isn’t his game, he better bulk up the BBs.

    Comment by wobatus — September 29, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  11. When I first saw Dee Gordon early last season in Dayton, I simply couldn’t believe that he was considered such a touted prospect because of how small his frame was. Like you, I am no (paid) scout, but I try to play one on tv (or something like that). Since that day I have been pretty down on Gordon compared to the majority, but I just can’t see a guy that small, turning into a good major leaguer. He is never going to hit even 5 HR’s in a season and it is incredibly difficult to be a productive player with such a low offensive output in HR’s. The guy is really fast and his bat speed is fine, but his size is severely going to limit the hitter he can be. Pitchers are likely going to figure out quickly that he can’t hurt them with the long ball and will throw him strikes. At that point, his walks are likely to dry up. Then he is going to have to rely on being a high average guy.

    Comment by Doug Gray — September 29, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  12. Yeah, i recall you posting this line of thought on minorleagueball. Brett Butler walked 108 times one season when he only hit 2 homers, so it isn’t impossible to work walks even when you have no power. Maybe that’s cherry picking, but he was one of the skinny dudes mentioned in the article.

    Comment by wobatus — September 29, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  13. According to Twitter, Bryan, Dee himself is actually reading this article. First of all, congrats; second, if he shows up for camp next year completely weighed down with muscle to the point where his agility is gone, we’ll all know where to turn.

    Comment by MSTI — September 29, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  14. Cheers to the power of Twitter.

    And as I just tweeted to Dee: one commonality of all the players mentioned in this article is they were all incredibly fun to watch play. That, at the very least, is the floor of his projection.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  15. See Schuessler, Tim.

    Comment by Tom F — September 29, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

  16. I guess I’ll ask the question: even if he’s not a very good pro, does he have a chance to be an asset in fantasy? If he sticks at SS and produces 50-60 SB, even if it’s alongside 0 HR, that’s pretty big in my format (I’m in a points league, so a low BA wouldn’t be anchor).

    FWIW, Juan Pierre’s season this year (270/335/315, 1 HR, 63 SB) would be the 4th highest total at SS. If that’s Gordon’s ceiling, I’m on board with two feet.

    Comment by TK — September 29, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  17. I would consider 2010 an improvement in his plate discipline. The raw percentages are virtually the same, but he was making a jump from the SAL to the Southern League.

    Comment by jar75 — September 29, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  18. Have you seen Mike MacDougal lately? The man looks like a bearded Nicole Ritchie.

    Comment by gnomez — September 29, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

  19. He should stick at shortstop, and that Pierre season is easily within range. I do think Gordon will be an asset to fantasy players, as Womack once was.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  20. This reminds me of the Lincecum debate, and despite Tim’s troubles for a portion of this year, he’s pretty much brought shame upon the house of “size matters”.

    Comment by hairball — September 29, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  21. Size doesn’t necessarily lend to velocity. Size certainly lends to power. Big difference.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

  22. That’s a valid point, jar75.

    Comment by wobatus — September 29, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  23. Thanks. I had to check just how many SB Tony Womack used to generate, and it was well beyond my expectations.

    Anyway, appreciate the response.

    Comment by TK — September 29, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  24. Those listed weights are very suspect. No way was Tim Raines 160 pounds. Maybe he was when he signed a pro contract, but certainly never in his MLB career. You don’t get called “Rock” when you are skinny. “Stick” maybe, but not “Rock”.

    Encarnacion is another one where the listed weight was probably as of his signing day.

    Comment by Rally — September 29, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  25. Right. And I point this out in the piece. Sammy Sosa was listed at 165 for a lot of those seasons with the Cubs, for God’s sake.

    And this only serves to further limit the number of players that make sense to compare to Gordon.

    Comment by Bryan Smith — September 29, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  26. Excellent analysis, Bryan. Dude seems skilled, and I’ll be damned if he ain’t fast, but there seems to be only so much there in terms of potential outcome.

    Comment by Wilsonian Democracy — September 29, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  27. What is with baseball-reference and their weights for players? THEY HAVE SAMMY SOSA LISTED AT 165 lbs

    Comment by Andrew — September 30, 2010 @ 3:29 am

  28. A conversation about skinny ballplayers with no mention of Otis Nixon? That guy was seriously skinny, but he could fly.

    Comment by Michael — September 30, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  29. Rally,

    When Rock Raines was young, he was wiry and 5’9″. He wouldn’t have been much more than 160. But, he was in the Show by the time he was 21 and with an IsoP over .130 at that stage.

    If you Google image search him, you’ll find a picture or two of him at that stage of his career.

    Comment by Mike Green — September 30, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

  30. Wasn’t he (Raines) called “Rock” because of all the crack rock he smoked? I’d heard that somewhere . . . possibly

    Comment by skippyballer486 — October 2, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  31. I think Dee Gordon is the best baseball player ever. He is my mentor and friend.

    Comment by Kristian — October 13, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  32. Daric Barton is a good example of that as well. He has potential to hit 20 with ease though.

    Comment by cyrwr1 — October 13, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

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