Through three weeks of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in control of the NL West.
The Dodgers have probably the most stacked lineup in all of baseball, good pitching (even with Clayton Kershaw out) and were favorites to represent the National League in the World Series. However, it’s been shortstop, Dee Gordon, that has been anchoring this team, serving as their top fantasy option thus far.
Heading into the season, Gordon wasn’t even a lock to earn a starting role in the infield. Now, three weeks later, he is the number two overall player on ESPN’s Player Rater, ahead of fantasy stud teammate, Hanley Ramirez. Gordon truly has been terrific, sporting the 5th-best batting average in the NL (.400) and the most stolen bases (9). You knew the steals would come, but he is actually hitting the ball very well. His .125 isolated power is by far the highest of his career, and while it’s certainly not sustainable, it is worth noting that Gordon is getting on base, which is all you can ask for out of a potential 40-steal guy. In 40 at-bats, he’s walked four times, while striking out just six times, posting an on-base percentage of .457. He’s been great for fantasy owners, and if you have him, hold onto him, even if someone offers you Troy Tulowitzki.
Welcome to overreaction Tuesday, folks.
Look, Gordon is intriguing, sure. Anyone who is almost a lock to swipe a bag whenever he gets on base is. But this is a guy with a career OBP of .311, so I need to see a larger sample size of him getting on base before I can call him legit. He doesn’t walk enough, having just 41 for his entire career. The power isn’t there and he puts the ball on the ground too much, currently posting a ground ball percentage of 70. And for his career, Gordon puts the ball on the ground over 57 percent of the time. I’m not saying Gordon won’t be relevant for fantasy purposes the rest of the way, because he will. A threat to lead the majors in steals, a terrific lineup around him, Gordon could very well finish the season as a top-12 shortstop. But if you can sell high right now, you need to look into it.
Guys I’d target for Gordon:
– Andrelton Simmons
– Jose Reyes
– Starlin Castro
Remember when I said that Gordon was the number two player in all of fantasy through three weeks? Yeah, if Alexei Ramirez wasn’t in the league, he’d be first.
You heard correctly. Ramirez is currently the top player in all of fantasy after a killer week in which he hit three home runs and batted well over .400. I mean, look at these blatantly obvious sustainable numbers from Ramirez to start the year:
– 1st in AL in average (.420).
– 7th in AL in HR (3).
– 3rd in AL in RBI (12).
– 3rd in AL in runs (11).
– 5th in AL in SB (3).
Ramirez is coming off the best stolen base campaign of his career, swiping 30 bags in 2013. That’s a bit odd for such a spike in speed for a 32-year old player, but he is still a lock for at least 15 stolen bases. I will say this, however. Ramirez stole 30 bases last season, not because of his speed, but because of his ability to get on base. Last year, he improved on his contact rate (88.3%), and so far this season, it’s sitting at 90.5 percent. At 32-years old, it seems odd to think he is actually improving as a hitter, but perhaps he is. Ramirez is a good player, and will probably hit just enough home runs to post double-double numbers in homers and steals, but he is a career .279 batter, which is fine, but he is going to regress in a big way soon. Look to sell him high while you can, but if you can’t, there’s nothing wrong with Ramirez as your starting shortstop the rest of the way.
Just don’t expect top-tier fantasy numbers.