Blog Entry

Is this the real Alex Gordon?

Posted on: April 23, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2011 12:04 pm
By Matt Snyder

On the eve of opening day, someone told you not to give up on the hope that Alex Gordon would pan out. Nineteen games into the season, that person doesn't need to remind you anymore, because Gordon is hitting like a stud. He has a 16-game hitting streak and leads the AL in runs and hits. He's hitting .361 with 14 RBI, 10 doubles and a .947 OPS. The question is, can he keep this up?

Well, no. He's not going to hit .361. No one is. But is he going to continue to play like the big-time prospect he was once projected to be?

I'm inclined to say yes.

The non-sabermetric side of me says that he's established confidence now and that's more than half the battle for someone with this talent level. The mental block where he internally questions if he can actually succeed at the major-league level is now removed. Look, 19 games is a small sample, to be sure, but it's not small to someone who has fought for years to succeed. He needed this.

As for the sabermetric side, let's delve in. Gordon has a .439 BABIP, compared to a career mark of .303. He is hitting far more line drives and ground balls than he ever has before, and his fly ball percentage is 29.9 -- as compared to a 43.3 mark in his career. That means his BABIP should rise, but all the way up to .439 is insane. Thus, his batting average is going to come down. Still, with the line drive and ground balls comprising a huge majority of his balls in play, the BABIP is bound to rise quite a bit.

Gordon's strikeout percentage is down, which is a reflection of two things. First of all, he's locked in. Of course he won't strike out near as much when things are going well. Secondly, though, he's far more aggressive. He is swinging at far more pitches and seeing less total pitches than ever before in his major-league career. This probably has something to do with Billy Butler being his protection now as he hits in the three-hole, but also is a new approach.

The one area of concern -- albeit slight -- is the lack of home run power. Gordon only has one bomb and most of his 10 doubles are of the line drive or ground ball variety -- as opposed to a deep fly ball off the wall. His five percent home runs per fly ball rate is by far the lowest of his career. This could be a small sample coincidence or a result of his new approach.

The bottom line is that we can expect Gordon's average to dip, but not drastically. Somewhere in the .310 range is probably reasonable. He's going to continue to drive in runs from his cushy spot in the batting order and hit doubles. I don't expect lots of home run power to appear, as he's unlikely to change his approach (and why should he? Stick with what works). Think maybe 15 homers but around 90 RBI.

If you'd come into the season telling the Royals Gordon was going to hit .310 with 15 home runs and 90 RBI, they'd have been ecstatic. Just as Gordon and the Royals are with his current level of production.

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Category: MLB

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 10:34 pm

Is this the real Alex Gordon?

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:20 am

Is this the real Alex Gordon?

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Since: Apr 10, 2011
Posted on: April 23, 2011 1:51 pm

Is this the real Alex Gordon?

This is the Alex Gordon that the Royals have been waiting for to breakout, and he's certainly done that at the start of the season. There's no way he keeps this kind of production up, but I expect career bests in most major hitting categories, which won't be hard to beat if you look at his career numbers. This is a great year to be a Royals fan.

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: April 23, 2011 1:08 pm

Is this the real Alex Gordon?

don't overlook his play on defense either. Yeah, he has misplayed a couple balls, but he's come up huge with a couple diving catches to save runs & the win to go along with 4 assists.

Since: Jan 29, 2011
Posted on: April 23, 2011 12:58 pm

Is this the real Alex Gordon?

I took him with my last pick in a 10 team roto,through a few laughs and giggles at the time i am now laughing my ass off...

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