Prospect Watch: Alex Gordon

The Kansas City Royals have a very interesting player currently learning how to play left field for their AAA affiliate in Omaha. At 26, he might be a little old for the league, but there’s no denying his production. Alex Gordon, the Royals former third baseman, has put together a .377/.515/.688 line in about 100 plate appearances with the O-Royals.

We’ve already chronicled the demotion of Alex Gordon to AAA early this season. It seemed ridiculous at the time – Gordon was clearly deserving of a spot on the roster, as he is just simply better than both Chris Getz, and Alberto Callaspo‘s defense is extremely suspect. Apparently the Royals felt that they weren’t going to contend this season and that their best course of action, for the long term, would be to try Alex Gordon in left field and let Callaspo’s bat play at third. It is almost certainly better for Gordon to be receiving the at bats that he has at AAA than to be stagnating on the Royals’ bench at the Major League level, but the Royals almost certainly cost themselves some wins on the season.

As we look at the standings, the Royals are pretty clearly finished. They sit at 19-28, 7.5 games behind the Twins for the Central and 9.5 behind the Yankees for the Wild Card. Given the talent disparity between the Royals and those two teams, we can safely say the Royals will not catch them. Still, there is reason to believe that winning now is valuable, and so the Royals should try and make the most of their current season while building for the long term.

They have the perfect player to bring up to the major leagues right now in Gordon. Learning left field clearly hasn’t impacted his offense in the minor leagues. Scott Podsednik has a .234/.281/.328 line in May. Mitch Maier and Rick Ankiel have wOBAs below .320. Willie Bloomquist has played well so far, but he’s Willie Bloomquist. The only truly talented player in the Royals’ outfield right now is David DeJesus, and he’s a 3-4 WAR player at best.

The Royals should have room in their outfield. Podsednik, Bloomquist, Maier, and Ankiel are all expendable players, and DeJesus could bring in some prospects in a potential trade. Alex Gordon does not have anything left to learn in the minors – if there are still any kinks in his outfield defense, he can work them out in the majors. Gordon was a good enough player to make the roster in April. At the plate, he has nothing left to learn in the minors. There’s no excuse if he’s not back in Kansas City by June.

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18 Responses to “Prospect Watch: Alex Gordon”

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  1. KowboyKoop says:

    I don’t agree with Maier being included in the expendable group with Pods, Ankiel and Bloomquist. While those guys are all over 30 and all are clearly on the downside of their careers, Maier is only 27 and at least looks like he has a chance of playing good CF defense and putting up a decent OBP. Not saying he’s a particularly good player, he’s not, but I don’t believe he belongs in the same breath as those other three turds who have no business being on a “rebuilding” teams roster. Maier at least could have a little value while he’s cheap.

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  2. JayCee says:

    Not sure about the word “both” and the syntax, but, just in case, Gordon has given no indication whatsoever he is a better hitter than Callaspo.

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  3. Slick says:

    If Gordon can’t make the Royals, that says enough to me. Just another over-hyped early first round flame out. It’s funny how these guys are a dime a dozen but get chance after chance because of where they were drafted.

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    • KowboyKoop says:

      If one of the worst GMs in the game makes a decision on a player, that’s all you need as proof that he’s right!?!??!?!

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      • Slick says:

        Maybe he is just not very good at the MLB level. He had chances and failed to deliver. These times in sports require instant results. Patience rarely pays off. You gotta put out when you get your chance. Gordon has failed produce when the opportunity was there. Regardless of his minor league numbers, some guys can’t hack it in the big leagues. While the Royals have a poor management system, you also have to goat hang the horns on the players too.

        Not to mention, I don’t hear daily reports of every GM banging down the Royals door for a shot to ‘rescue’ Gordon from purgatory.

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  4. Marc says:

    I really think other GMs should pay attention to his production in AAA. I believe he can still produce and the Royals organization seems to have given up on him.

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  5. Bannister19 says:

    For a website that prides itself on statistics, it’s surprising – it really is. -5.4 UZR 150 in 08, -7.8 in 09, and -70 for the 80 innings in ’10: A Career -2.0 at 3B

    While Callapso has a career 7.2UZR/150 at 3B, though given in less innings.

    He is not even close to being better defensively than Getz, the best defensive player on the team.

    I like Alex and want to see him up, but Callapso can’t play second and Gordon can’t play third. Once he learns to play the outfield then he can come in, until then, he’s just like Kila, no room for him.

    But thats why four of our five possible OFers are on the trade block (Gullien, Podsednick, Ankiel, and DeJesus), Maier being the odd one out cause well — nobody would want him anyways. Though, in his defense, his defense and hitting has improved.

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    • Bannister19 says:

      But hell, it’s not like I expected anything different from FG

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    • geo says:

      You beat me to it, Banny! I was going to say exactly the same thing. Gordon hasn’t been even an average third baseman since he was a rookie – in fact, he’s been seriously BELOW average. Callaspo, while more than suspect at second, is actually pretty good at third, albeit small sample size, but he’s above average so far and passes the eye test pretty well.

      I might add that there have been hints that Gordon actually sought the position change. Although I’m not certain that he actually initiated it, he was clearly relieved afterward, as he was admittedly uncomfortable at third.

      But, well, you know, these are the Royals. If they did it, it must be wrong. It’s a stigma they have earned, although it’s not always deserved.

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      • wobatus says:

        Plus, isn’t Moose the future at 3b for the Royals anyway? Gordon may as well learn to play LF if he can.

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  6. Nathaniel Stoltz says:

    How on earth has Bloomquist “played well?” He’s at .190/.250/.340, for crying out loud!

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  7. Jon says:

    You beat me o it, nathaniel. Bloomquist sucks!!! And only a hot week got him to .190. He was hitting .114 last week!!

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  8. Circlechange11 says:

    Why is so much written about Alex Gordon here?

    It’s like writers go out of their way to demonstrate how good he is.

    The only other times KC deserves ink is in regards to Grienke or when DeJesus is traded to a contender.

    Just saying. I used to live in KC and I just wonder how many chances does AG get?

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    • JT says:

      Some people see a flame-out. Other people see potential. The skill lies in making the correct evaluation.

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    • wobatus says:

      No, no, keep writing about him! he’s stashed on my bench and I need him called up, or at least get his trade value up.

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  9. BobLoblaw says:

    KC didn’t delay bringing Gordon up for the start of the season his rookie year. Could this be about ML service time??

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  10. BobLoblaw says:

    Looking at his career path, I wonder what would’ve happened if he spent more than one year in the minors before coming up. He played three years in college, one (successful) year in AA, and then went straight to the majors out of spring training in ’07. The 18 games he spent rehabbing in AAA last year (’09) were his first ever at that level. But there’s no point sending him there now; he’s clearly advanced enough that AAA has nothing to offer. It’s possible it wouldn’t have offered him anything in ’07 either, but I have to wonder if his development would’ve been different.

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