Alex Gordon And Batting First


Spring Training is just around the corner and that means we’ve reached the time of year where fans and writers start speculating about the batting order. Pete Grathoff has kicked thing off at the Kansas City Star. It’s an interesting read if only for the fact that Pete apparently thinks there are people who want Alex Gordon to hit fifth. 51 doubles or not, I don’t really believe there’s anyone who wants him to bat that far down in the lineup.

August 22, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) on deck to bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals in their history have been prone to throwing a speedster at the top of the lineup regardless of an ability to get on base. I single Kansas City out here because this is a Royals blog but this line of thinking is popular across all of baseball. It’s why somebody like Omar Moreno can accumulate over 3500 plate appearances at leadoff despite a .306 career on-base percentage. Speed kills, but it also blinds.

Despite the presence of Kenny Lofton Jarrod Dyson on the roster I firmly believe that Gordon remains the best option to bat first. He’s one of the better leadoff hitters in team history, if not the best. Ned Yost hit a home run when he inserted Gordon at the top of the order two years ago. It was an outside the box type of thinking that we’re not accustomed to seeing in Kansas City. All Gordon has does in that spot is put up two of the top four highest on-base percentages by a Royals leadoff hitter (min. 250 PAs).

1Aaron GuielBatting 1st2003284.387
2Alex GordonBatting 1st2011422.383
3Johnny DamonBatting 1st2000740.381
4Alex GordonBatting 1st2012377.379
5George BrettBatting 1st1977364.378

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In a perfect world you would absolutely want a Lofton type of player batting first. Kansas City doesn’t have one though. Luckily they just happen to have someone better.