It was way back in 2007 when the Kansas City Royals promoted one oft he most hyped hitting prospects ever in third baseman Alex Gordon who was the number two pick overall in his 2005 draft class. Blessed with tremendous natural power and speed, Gordon profiled as someone who could be a 30/30 guy one day. Heck even 40/40 was possible. So expectations were enormous when he first got the call and his 15 home run with 14 stolen base debut was more than acceptable considering his age of 23.
Fast forward to spring training 2011 and we are still waiting for Gordon to be even a shell of the player we all anticipated he would be. That 2007 rookie season has been his best campaign to date as injuries and a horrible batting approach have turned him into possibly one of the biggest busts ever. The Royals however were determined to give him one more chance this season and so Gordon is auditioning for an outfield job or maybe even a spot at third if Mike Moustaskas doesn’t make the club. Sensing his career at a major breaking point, Gordon has so far done his part and more this spring as he has hit a robust .367 with 3 home runs and 1 stolen base. He has driven the ball with authority and shown a much better plate approach for sure. So with that very good display likely earning him a starting job this season, we all must think to ourselves if its worth getting involved here again. Lets dig in and find out what Gordon could offer fantasy baseball owners this season and if he is once again worth the time and effort of owning him this season.
We have to first take a look at the massive struggles that Gordon has undergone in his career to see if he had made any inroads there since his debut. There has been much made about Gordon’s struggles against lefties as his .200 average there attests but he has been almost as bad against righties to the tune of .220 for his career. His massive strikeout rate has a lot to do with that as well and really Gordon’s hasn’t made any strides there since his 2007 debut.
Now the power and speed are still quite evident as we have seen this spring with the pop at least. Despite all of the warts in his approach to the plate, Gordon still has natural strength that will allow him to “fall into” home runs. The initial projections of 30 might have been a bit rash but 20 is certainly possible. Also once he gets on base, Gordon has the speed to swipe some bags so 15 steals is not of the question for sure.
Still it all comes back to Gordon’s batting discipline and until he curbs the strikeouts and struggles against lefites, he will be a major drag on your batting average and be susceptible to benchings or a platoon which doesn’t help anyone. I don’t suggest buying into his spring stats until he does it for real and even if he gets off to a hot start, I would give him some extra time to see if the changes are legitimate here. Since the rest of the fantasy baseball world has been burned by him in some form or another, its likely you will have little competition if you do take a chance with him this season.