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Player Profile #71: Alex Gordon | OF | KC

Alex Gordon was once regarded as one of the biggest busts in baseball. Today he’s not only one of the more coveted outfielders in fantasy, but in real life as well.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Gordon really took off as a great player at the plate and in the outfield. Since then, he has posted three straight seasons of 70+ RBI and 90+ R along with double-digit speed and power.

The bad news with Gordon is that he’s now 30 years old and any additional upside he had is probably gone. The good news is he doesn’t need the prospect upside to be a top-100 fantasy play for the upcoming season.

Gordon is about as consistent and durable as they come. He has averaged 155 games played and over 700 PA over these last three seasons. His durability helps explain his solid counting stat totals despite him being on a team that has been lacking on offense at times. The Royals also recognize how valuable Gordon is to their success, as he typically bats either 1st or 3rd, which are usually reserved for the team’s better hitters.

For how good Gordon is, he did have a rough second half in 2013, which is something that can be attributed to a significant change in his batted ball stats. In the second half, Gordon traded  in his line drives and groundballs for flyballs.

2013 BA LD% GB% FB% BABIP
1st Half .283 23.1 43.7 33.2 .347
2nd Half .244 17.0 36.5 46.5 .265

Obviously, this had a negative effect on his BABIP as that dropped by bad luck and a change of approach. Gordon’s line drive rate fell a bit in the second half, causing his BABIP to drop by 82 points.

Now, with more flyballs you would hope that Gordon at least hit for more power in the second half. Well, in the second half he increased his ISO from .134 to .184, which is significant because that would be his second-highest ISO if stretched over a full season.

This really leaves us with two scenarios for 2014:

  1. He keeps hitting flyballs — likely resulting in a career-high HR mark — while losing some points on his batting average.
  2. He flips the switch back and reverts to hitting line drives giving us a .285+ BA and those solid counting stats we’ve grown to love.

At A Glance

  • Strengths: 2B, 3B
  • Neutral: R, HR, RBI, SB, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, BB, K
  • Weaknesses: None

Players With Similar Fantasy Value

2014 Fantasy Baseball Projection

2014 Projection: 716 PA, 85 R, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 12 SB, .274 BA

Overall Rank: 71 | OF Rank: 30

Overall, look for Gordon to be a very balanced contributor in 5×5 leagues. He should even be a solid contributor in OBP leagues if he can bounce back from a down 2013 season in the category.

This offseason, the Royals added Norichika Aoki from the Brewers to hit leadoff. This effects Gordon because he is likely going to be moved either to the 2nd or 3rd in the order. This shouldn’t affect his run total much, but it should give him more RBI opportunities thus making him a more balanced contributor.

Gordon has decent speed but doesn’t choose to steal all that much and while he should reach double digits I’d expect it to be on the lower end.

Overall, look for Gordon to be a very balanced contributor in 5×5 leagues. He should even be a solid contributor in OBP leagues if he can bounce back from a down 2013 season in the category.

Gordon has put up very similar statistics over the last three seasons for a reason, he’s very good at baseball. I see the 2nd half of 2013 as a speed bump, rather than a change in skill or approach. In the above scenario I proposed, I’m sticking with option two.

2015 & Beyond

Even at 30, Gordon has all the skills to remain a very similar player for the foreseeable future. He doesn’t rely on his great speed or power so as long as he can make solid contact at the plate and be patient he should age very well in this league. Also, his above average defense should keep him in the lineup even if his bat happens to fade a bit over the years.

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  • KB

    Word out of KC is he is batting 5th this year – I think that lowers his value quite a bit. I could also see Butler clogging the base paths in front of him quite a bit.

  • http://www.fishtankmedia.com/ Matt Commins

    Totally agree Butler will clog the bases and will limit Gordon’s RBI opportunities.l believe Gordon should be batting fourth, but Ned Yost, being the highly qualified manager that he is, will look to split up his lefties and righties despite how good each player is. #Yosted

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