Chapter 151 of the All-Time Marlins Countdown features some speed.
Throughout the 2020-21 offseason, Fish Stripes has been regaling you with stories of seasons’ past. The countdown has featured every Marlins player save 15. With two weeks to go until the 2021 season, we aim to rectify that. Players are sorted in ascending value by bWAR divided by the amount of plate appearances and/or batters faced while with the team. Dee Gordon-Strange accumulated 8.2 bWAR in his three seasons for the Marlins.
15. Dee Gordon-Strange
Dee Strange-Gordon is a five-foot-11 left-handed batting second baseman from Windermere, Florida. Stylized at the time as simply, “Dee Gordon,” he was initially a fourth round choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 out of Seminole Community College. In 2009, at the time ranked as the Dodgers number seven prospect according to Baseball America, Gordon-Strange hit .301 and stole 73 bases for the Single-A Great Lakes Loons.
Following that standout performance, Strange-Gordon was then ranked as Los Angeles’ number one prospect for the next two seasons, and made his major league debut for them in 2011. In parts of four seasons at the major league level for them, he totaled 130 stolen bases and hit .272, leading the National League with 12 triples and 64 stolen bases in 2014. For his efforts, he made the NL All Star Team for the first time. After that breakout year, he was traded with Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas, and cash to the Marlins for Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney, and Enrique Hernandez.
For the Marlins in 2015, Strange-Gordon led the NL with 205 hits, 58 stolen bases, and a .333 batting average. He was also named to his second All Star Team and won both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award at second base. On a team just jam-packed with players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, and Jose Fernandez, Strange-Gordon was the most valuable, at 4.3 bWAR.
Strange-Gordon had multiple hits in 59 of his 145 appearances in his first season with the Marlins, including 25 times where he totaled three-or-more. In a world where a seasonal WPA of 0.000 means that you’re doing exactly what you should as a major leaguer, Strange-Gordon finished at 2.020. His best game, going by WPA, was on September 23, when he singled in the third, singled in the bottom of the 10th, then added a walkoff RBI-double in the bottom of the 11th in a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
A month into the 2016 campaign, Strange-Gordon surprised a lot of people by getting hit with an 80-game PED suspension, causing him to miss half of the season. Strange-Gordon still hit .268 with 30 stolen bases in 37 attempts when he did play. Late in the season, he had one of the most iconic moments in franchise history in the aftermath of the untimely death of Fernandez. Never known as a power hitter (he had hit only eight home runs in 2,301 major league plate appearances prior to September 26), Strange-Gordon cranked the second offering from Bartolo Colon into the second deck of right field, then, visibly upset, circled the bases.
In 2017, Strange-Gordon ranked third on Miami with 158 games played. Somewhat of a return to form, he again led the NL with stolen bases, with 60, and hit .308 with an NL-fourth 114 runs scored. Although he did win a Gold Glove with the team, that was the only of the three seasons with Miami in which Strange-Gordon was below zero DRS. He totaled plus-7 DRS in 3,218 2⁄3 innings at second base. After the 2017 season, Miami traded Gordon with international bonus slot money to the Seattle Mariners for Nick Neidert, Robert Dugger, and Christopher Torres.
In three seasons with the Mariners, Strange-Gordon has shown diminished returns, with a .266 overall average and 55 stolen bases in 291 games. With 333 in his career thus far, Strange-Gordon is the active major league leader in the category. He’s currently with the Cincinnati Reds as a non-roster invitee for the 2021 campaign.