3) Alex Gordon Moves To Lead-off
When Whit Merrifield hit his little strikeout skid, KC Royals manager Ned Yost moved Alex Gordon into the lead-off position. He’s remained there ever since. When Merrifield returned to the lineup, Yost batted him second.
When asked about the switch, Yost told Kansas City Star reporter Rustin Dodd:
"“Gordy can take a walk,” Yost said. “Whit can do more things in the two hole. We’re just trying something.”"
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Gordon has hit lead-off at various times in his career, but usually ends up moving down the batting order to put him in a run producing position. Over Alex Gordon’s career, he’s hit an excellent .280/.354/.453 in the no. 1 position in the batting order. What makes him an attractive lead-off guy is his .354 OBP and his tendency to take walks. However, Gordon doesn’t boast disruptive speed on the basepaths, though he does possess good base-running instincts.
I expect this move to be temporary, especially if Merrifield’s strikeout problem proves to be nothing more than a temporary blip. If Merrfield can keep getting on base, his superior speed and base stealing ability make him a much more attractive lead-off option than Gordon.
Hey, but what do I know? Ned Yost has repeatedly shown over the years that he makes lineup decisions more with his gut than with his head. So, trying to reason out what he’ll do in this area is a fool’s game.
Next: Salvador Perez