Gordon possesses baseball IQ beyond years

Gordon possesses baseball IQ beyond years

Gordon possesses baseball IQ beyond years
LOS ANGELES -- At surface level, Dee Gordon's game appears reckless.

In the rookie shortstop's mind, however, it's all calculated.

Gordon is a student of the game, and he has what manager Don Mattingly calls "an understanding of his speed." It's just one of the many facets of his game that he is constantly trying to improve.

With infielders Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles -- who have a combined 19 years of big league experience -- there to help him, Gordon is taking full advantage.

"We talk about the game, we talk about the infield, we talk about pretty much every play that we have," Gordon said. "We talk about everything. These guys are two of the best guys ever. They've taken me in."

Gordon is all ears at shortstop when one of the veteran second basemen tells him where to play or how to adjust during the game. That led both Mattingly and Miles to liken him to a sponge.

So far, Miles has been very impressed with what he's seen in Gordon's game. But perhaps more indicative of Gordon's future success, Miles said, is his constant willingness to learn.

"It's a process of becoming a big league ballplayer, and having what I like to call 'a big league brain'," Miles said. "He works hard at that right now."

Miles pointed to Monday when he hit a shallow fly ball with Gordon on third. Gordon noticed that Reds left fielder Chris Heisey catching the ball on his heels, and he broke for home, scoring despite a perfect throw.

"That's a great instinct for a young guy to have, that thought process in his head for that play," Miles said. "He's gonna be a very instinctive and smart player once he gets that experience under his belt."

Mattingly, who has said that Gordon is only in the big leagues because of injuries, compared his instincts, his body and his defensive range to Omar Vizquel. The difference, Mattingly said, is that Gordon has more of a speed factor.

With a pair of veteran middle infielders helping Gordon, Mattingly is confident that he'll continue to develop. But that's simply what Mattingly expects out of two of his clubhouse leaders. What's more important is that Gordon is willing to listen to them.

"When a guy doesn't want to listen to the older guy, the older guy at that point is gonna let him do his thing," Mattingly said. "But when you get a kid who wants to learn and wants to get better, usually guys want to help a kid get better and see him do well."