Kansas City Royals Alex Gordon Right Choice to Bat Leadoff

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For 125 games this season, Alcides Escobar had been in the leadoff spot for the Kansas City Royals. He was not the choice that would seemingly fit with the recent trend towards on base percentage being the end all of baseball statistics, especially atop a lineup. Yet, his element of speed was enough where Mike Moustakas, surprisingly cast in the second spot of the lineup, would theoretically get plenty of open spaces to place the ball on the right side.

With Moustakas transforming into a more complete hitter, and the acquisition of Ben Zobrist, who has proven to be a perfect fit for the team, the Royals have been able to move away from Escobar in that role. While Zobrist had his time atop the lineup when Alex Gordon was injured, that role has gone to Gordon over the past few games.

With his overall offensive game, Gordon is a natural in that leadoff spot. Perhaps more than anyone on the Royals aside from Zobrist, he has been an on base machine during the past few years. Even this season, with his injury and early season slump, Gordon had posted a .389 on base percentage heading into last night’s game, the highest mark among starters on the Royals by twenty points.

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Given that the Kansas City Royals do not appear to be able to shake the doldrums they are in, it is understandable that Ned Yost is changing things around. He flipped Yordano Ventura and Johnny Cueto in the rotation, a move that provided mixed results. That same tinkering has extended to the lineup, where Yost has inserted Alex Gordon back into the leadoff role, a place where he has 302 games of experience.

Yes, this season, the results have not been what the Royals would have hoped for from Gordon in the leadoff spot. In his nine game there prior to last night, he has posted a .200/.289/.229 batting line, far below those career norms. However, even in Gordon’s small sample size this season atop the lineup, and with that slump, he is just ten points behind the .299 on base percentage that Escobar posted this season from the leadoff spot.

It is fair to wonder if that move will be enough to get the Royals back on track. For the past few weeks, something seems to be off. That swagger that the Royals had up to their series in Toronto is gone, seemingly stolen by the Blue Jays. Something needs to be done to change the Royals momentum, and get them back on track.

Perhaps putting Alex Gordon atop the lineup will help. Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals are looking for answers, and perhaps this move will pay off when October finally rolls around.

Next: The Reinvention of Greg Holland

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