Alex Gordon starts the season setting an MLB mark for a starting position player by scoring five runs for the Kansas City Royals before his first hit of the season.
Walks, bean balls, and poor play by the Chicago White Sox all contributed to Alex Gordon‘s record. It is a record nonetheless. The Kansas City Royals are looking at alternative ways get on base and to score runs. No one has talked about this strategy. Seriously though, Gordon may be on to something for himself. Known more for his strikeouts than his walks, he already has two of them to go along with being hit twice by pitches.
Gordon was considered the “Next George Brett” when he was drafted by the Royals. High expectations have followed him ever since. It’s never fair to compare someone to a Hall of Fame member. Yet Gordon faced that moniker for much of his early career. He has been a wonderful and productive member of the Royals, but never fully reached those early expectations. This year could be his last for the organization.
When Gordon was moved into the second spot in the batting order last year, I noticed a change in him. He was hitting better, but more importantly to me, his attitude seem changed. He looked like he was having fun playing the game again. It just seemed like a bounce in his step had returned. The new guys seemed to energize him. However, there may be more to it than just that.
Gordon has always liked batting at the top of the order. He usually hit well when batting there too. His lack of speed made that problematic, though. Last weekend I heard a conversation about Gordon that I found very interesting. According to Ryan Lefebvre, he would rather score a run than drive in a run.
For me, that was an interesting statement. Since he arrived in Kansas City, Gordon has always been looked at as a person who drives in runs. Early in his career, his name came up the most, with Royals management as the one most likely to break the team single season home run record. He was placed in the batting order to mainly drive in runs. Even though he usually hit better near the top of the order.
Maybe we should take his hint. I’ve noticed changes in the way Gordon is now approaching his at bats. The “long” lumbering swing we have watched for years has been shortened. His bat is getting in the zone quicker and staying in longer. He is working the count and taking walks. He’s moving runners. He is working on hitting to left field to beat the shift. Even his base running has improved. The work the team put into that this spring seems to have helped him a lot.
On Sunday, Gordon got his first hit of the season. He also scored his sixth run. He has started the season with more walks and hit by pitches than strikeouts. For the first time since the championship run, he looks like he is having fun. His smiles are quicker and he seems to enjoy playing with all the new players.
It would not surprise me if this ends up being one of Gordon’s best years for the Royals. The pressure is off him now. It’s not expected of him to be the primary person driving in runs. Now what we need him to do is keep the line moving. Get on base. Do something positive and “score runs.” He seems to be responding to it too.
If Gordon has a good season, it would not surprise me if the Kansas City Royals re-sign him. He is still the best fielding left fielder in the game and a quiet leader on a team of new and unproven players. The Royals need him to have a good year.