205 hits, 58 stolen bases, a .333 batting average, a Gold Glove award and a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award; it was some first year with the Marlins for Dee Gordon.
After many questioned his value as the trade between Miami and the Dodgers gathered steam last winter, he left it all on the field in 2015. The fact that Gordon was the first player since Jackie Robinson in 1949 to lead the league in hits and stolen bases shows just how special of a season he had this year.
The immediate success Dee Gordon enjoyed with Miami resulted in one of the best first seasons with the organization over its 22 year history. One could make the argument that Gordon's 2015 season was one of the top-five first seasons with the team. Here are the other four players who could state their case to share this honor (in chronological order):
Kevin Brown (1996)
In his first of two seasons donning the teal and black, Brown would come the closest ever to winning the Cy Young award for the Marlins. The veteran posted a 1.89 ERA to go along with a 17-11 record over 233 innings. He finished second in the running for the National League's best pitcher despite having an ERA over one run less than John Smoltz, who won.
Moises Alou (1997)
A nominee for the Hall of Fame, Alou only spent one of his seventeen seasons with the Marlins, but it was a standout year nonetheless. He gained MVP attention by hitting 23 homers and driving in 115 runs at a .292 clip. He struggled in the NLDS and NLCS, but then put the team on his back in the World Series by hitting for a .321 average with three home runs and nine RBIs to help defeat the Cleveland Indians in seven games. The Fish traded him away in the post-championship fire sale.
Juan Pierre (2003)
The most similar player to Dee Gordon on this list, Pierre appeared in every regular season game and finished with 204 hits, 65 stolen bases and a .361 OBP. He then hit .301 in the postseason run which ended in a second title for the Marlins in six years. Juan PIerre was able to reproduce his level of play in 2004 by pumping out 221 hits, setting the club record. With such similar numbers in year one with the team, will Gordon's second season follow a similar path?
Jose Fernandez (2013)
The 20 year-old rookie who was manning a rotation spot at the start of the season due to injuries stole the hearts of everyone in Miami, and a lot of people around the country. The Cuban defector threw one of the best seasons ever by a rookie, sporting a 2.19 ERA with 186 strikeouts over 172.2 innings. He finished third in the Cy Young race and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. Fernandez has battled injuries ever since (mainly the arm injury which required Tommy John surgery), but after 26 starts in Miami, he has a 1.40 ERA and is yet to lose.
No matter where Dee Gordon's 2015 season racks up against these other impressive campaigns, he had a fantastic season which was extremely fun to witness. Here's to hoping that he can enjoy similar success in 2016 and beyond, and experience what three of the above players have experienced: winning a championship with the Fish.