Is Alex Gordon earning the label of Quadruple-A player?

Once considered one of the elite players in the game, Gordon has never posted respectable numbers in the major leagues.

He’s gotten a total of 1,231 ABs since making his debut in 2007 and compiled a .249 average to go along with 38 HR.

Simply put, he’s been bad. There’s just no other way to describe it.

Now back at Triple-A, it’s like night and day. Just look at his line:

85 At-Bats
.376 Batting Average (32 Hits)
Seven Home Runs
19 RBI
23 Runs
Three Stolen Bases
.518 On-Base Percentage
.718 Slugging Percentage
.446 Batting Average on Balls in Play

We all know the BABIP is not a believable number, so take the average with a grain of salt. He’s not going to hit at that type of level in the major leagues, and we all know it.

The thing is, the underlying numbers are extremely similar to what he had been doing in the major leagues:

  • He has a 19.8 percent walk rate vs. 18.4 percent in the major leagues in ‘10.
  • He has a 25.9 percent strikeout rate vs. 25.8 percent in the major leagues in ‘10.

The fact of the matter is he was plagued by tremendous bad luck over his 38 ABs earlier this season (.227 BABIP). That’s right—that’s all the time the Royals gave him before banishing him to Triple-A. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that he turned things around and hit a hot streak; it’s just too bad the Royals didn’t stick with him long enough to enjoy any of it.

The home run total is slightly deceiving, considering he’s been playing in the Pacific Coast League. Through his first 74 ABs, his fly-ball rate was actually just 27.8 percent, not a number conducive to significant home run totals.

There’s no reason for concern, however, with a 47.2 percent minor league career mark and a 44.9 percent major league mark. He has the potential to produce some decent power numbers; he just needs to get an extended look.

The Royals are a team that are consistently rebuilding, so it would be shocking for them not to give Gordon a second look in 2010. However, it likely won’t come at 3B, especially with Mike Moustakas raking in the minor leagues.

The team has been using him in the outfield since his demotion, and the reports have been good. Rusty Kuntz was quoted in The Kansas City Star as saying (click here for the full article):

“Put Eric Byrnes in Alex Gordon’s body, and that’s how he plays the outfield. He’s flying all over the place, and diving for every ball he think he has a chance to get.”

The article talks about how hard he works and his desire to improve his play.

Working on a new position is going to delay his return to the majors. The Royals are not going to rush him, wanting him to be able to excel at the position and not flounder.

There’s no doubt that he’s going to return this season, but you can’t just look at his offensive output and expect him to be up sooner rather then later. However, once he returns, he’ll have that much more value, with eligibility at both 3B and OF.

At this point it’s impossible to know exactly how the bat is going to translate, but with his minor league production he’s certainly worth the gamble. If you are in a deeper format, I’d stash him away and wait to reap some benefits.

What about you? Is Gordon someone you would stash? Why or why not?


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