Discussion: Alex Gordon

Earlier this week, the Royals optioned former first-round pick Alex Gordon to the minors. The second overall pick in 2005, Gordon was named Baseball America's #2 prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2007 season. However, since hitting .260/.351/.432 in 2008, the 26-year-old has struggled to stay healthy and has posted a slash line of just .226/.327/.369 in 227 plate appearances for the Royals, leading to his demotion.

For Joe Posnanski, the move is a signal that the club has given up on Gordon, writing that "when you send him to the minor leagues after only 12 games, it doesn’t matter what you say. You are giving up." ESPN.com's Rob Neyer agrees, pointing out that many people in Kansas City's front office weren't around when Gordon was drafted, reducing their investment in him. Neyer says that if he were running the Royals, he'd play Gordon at third base, barring injury, until season's end, but the organization has other plans — they intend to give Gordon playing time at left field and first base in Triple-A Omaha. As Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star notes, Gordon likely would've been displaced at third base eventually by prospect Mike Moustakas, who is hitting .417/.491/.917 in Double-A so far this season.

So where does this leave Gordon? Posnanski is pessimistic about the left-handed hitter's future in Kansas City, predicting that Gordon could end up blossoming with another team who appreciates his strengths. It's unclear if the Royals would consider moving him at this point though, or if there'd even be much of a market for him. Mellinger spoke to one rival scout who opines: "Nobody I know is excited about [Gordon] or thinks he’s above getting sent down."

Gordon is under team control until after the 2013 season, so for now the Royals figure to give him a chance to play every day and gain some confidence in the minors. Eventually, his performance or an injury on the 25-man roster will earn him another shot in the bigs. Posnanski, however, belives that "without expectation and without a position," it won't work.

If it were your decision, what would you do with Gordon, a player once drafted ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, and Troy Tulowitzki?


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47 Comments on "Discussion: Alex Gordon"


lakersdodgersyankees4life
5 years 3 months ago

The Royals are stupid to give up on him. The Dodgers will take him off their hands, we need a 3B for the future…

tman89544
5 years 3 months ago

I don’t know why they didn’t just move Callaspo to Left field and left Gordon at 3rd. Even if his hitting sucks hes still one of our best defenders. I don’t mind a demotion but its just stupid to expect him to pick up his hitting while learning a new position.

AngryDawg69
5 years 3 months ago

Are you also forgetting he was drafted ahead of Ryan Braun???????????

hisownfool
5 years 3 months ago

Ryan Zimmerman, too. I recall Baseball America’s insistence that Gordon was a better prospect than Zimmerman even after Zimm had been runner-up in the ROY voting.

hisownfool
5 years 3 months ago

oops! I should have read to end. Gordon’s being selected ahead of Zimmerman was noted in the piece.

Luke Adams
5 years 3 months ago

Others drafted in that first round after Gordon was off the board:

Ricky Romero
Andrew McCutchen
Jay Bruce
Jacoby Ellsbury
Matt Garza
Colby Rasmus

As usual, hindsight is 20/20.

Luke Adams
5 years 3 months ago

Heh, yeah, I suppose that’s a name worth adding.

5 years 3 months ago

yeah, and to think that the royals couldve had ryan braun, ryan zimmerman, or troy tulowitzki. oh what a shame

5 years 3 months ago

and whatever happened to mike moustakas playing cathcer? thats the position he played in high school

Yankees420
5 years 3 months ago

I read somewhere that he truly can’t handle the position defensively, something I hope doesn’t happen to Jesus Montero.

LordD99
5 years 3 months ago

I don’t see Montero as the Yankees’ future catcher, at least full time. It’s probably going to be Romine. 2011 is the last year of Posada’s contract and I can see Posada and Montero rotating between catcher and DH next year, allowing both to appear in 130-40 games. That’s one reason why the Yankees didn’t want to sign Johnson (or Matsui) for more than one season as they are planning to use the DH as a rotation spot come 2011 for Posada/Montero. Come 2012, Romine should be ready, and all indications are that he has a very good bat and a very good glove. The wild card here is Posada. He doesn’t seem to be slowing down with the bat, so he could very well still be playing for another couple years (or more) after his current contract expires, eating up more of the DH slot. Balancing Posada, Montero and Romine will become more difficult.

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

He played shortstop primarily in high school. Third was occupied by Dominguez, the slick fielding Marlins prospect. People have speculated about Moustakas as a catcher, but the Royals have never actually played him there, and with him finally starting to hit, you can be reasonably sure they won’t.

bjsguess
5 years 3 months ago

Complete waste. Either play him or trade him. Moving him to the OF or 1B is a total waste of his glove at 3B.

MLBrainmaker
5 years 3 months ago

Everything I’ve heard about the guys is that he can’t hit a breaking ball. Just no pitch recognition skills for offspeed stuff. Can murder fastballs, but so can Jack Cust, he can take walk…

redsandyanksfan
5 years 3 months ago

ha wow dont the last part of the Post make you royal fans wanna throw up in your mouth and bang your head off a wall? but i cant say to much we drafted drew stubbs over lincecum

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

So they’re moving a former can’t miss prospect who hasn’t hit to a position that demands more offense to clear space for a former top draft pick who’s hitting professional pitching well for the first time? Oh dear.

But don’t get on them for drafting Gordon in the first place. It made too much sense at the time, and it’s not their fault that turned out to be maybe the greatest first round in the history of the draft. Drafting Hochevar over Lincecum and Longoria’s more questionable. No one thought Hochevar was the best player in that draft.

Ferrariman
5 years 3 months ago

he was drafted ahead of tulo, zimmermann, braun, rasmus, ellsbury, and McCutchen.

baseball52
5 years 3 months ago

He needs a change of scenery. He’ll do fine somewhere else.

Ian_Smell
5 years 3 months ago

Neal Huntington’s probably licking his chops at the chance of another failed prospect going on the market.

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

Andy LaRoche is finally hitting in the majors, Neil Walker’s hitting in Triple-A, and Pedro Alvarez is heating up in Triple-A. I think a third baseman who might have to move off the position is the last thing Huntington wants now.

Ian_Smell
5 years 3 months ago

I really don’t think Huntington would want to acquire Gordon, it’s just a knock on him how he’s always acquiring broken prospects and parlaying it as if he made a steal.

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

He’s taking flyers on young players with upside who can be gotten cheap while he patiently rebuilds the terrible farm system he inherited. What’s wrong with that?

Ian_Smell
5 years 3 months ago

Nothing’s wrong with the process, but when players like Milledge, Clement, and Moss are under performing, it becomes frustrating.

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

Fair enough, though I wouldn’t lump Moss in with those other guys. He was never really any great shakes.

kimofromkauai
5 years 3 months ago

How about Gordon to the Angels for Brandon Wood? Two third basemen who need changes of scenery.

Dev0
5 years 3 months ago

Toronto would love Gordon, we need a 3rd basemen going forward, and have lots of pieces trade wise.

Garafraxaguy
5 years 3 months ago

Agreed

dizzle4
5 years 3 months ago

Yeah, this would be a great spot for the Jays to get in. You wonder if a solid pitching prospect like Brad Mills, who’s having a great season, could get it done.

5 years 3 months ago

Encarnacion is only a year older than Gordon…

dizzle4
5 years 3 months ago

But he’s got tons of defensive flaws and never quite had the same potential.

ejwggc
5 years 3 months ago

Buzz around KC is that he isnt a hard worker and doesnt respond to coaching, ie not into making adjustments. And it doesnt matter how talented you are, you cant succeed in the bigs without adjusting to the scouting report thats out on you

Zack23
5 years 3 months ago

Just curious- where is this “buzz” from? Like, Loud Billy down at the bar yelling at the TV that Gordon doesnt work hard? Or like, legit ‘anonymous’ sources?

ejwggc
5 years 3 months ago

Local radio who likely has sources. And dont quote me, but Im pretty sure George Brett himself has questioned his work ethic.

Zack23
5 years 3 months ago

We shouldnt play the whole “he was drafted in front of Player X, Y, Z” 4 years later.
Like everything, it has to be evaluated at the time of the draft, that’s the only fair way to do it.

What was the reation at the time of the draft? Major reach? Or legit pick? Links?

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

Like I said above, it was a very legit pick. Clement was a reach and Romero was a reach, and they were both ahead of Tulo, among others. But Gordon was a perfectly sensible pick at the time, and aside from the marketing of taking a local guy, it also means they scouted him intensely (a factor that works for the Braves a lot with Georgia kids). The pick looks worse because the 2005 first round has a chance to be the greatest of all time. If Gordon had performed this way from, say, he 2001 draft, he would still be disappointing and failing to live up to his minor league career, but he wouldn’t be additionally burdened with the ridiculous what if’s.

sacu
5 years 3 months ago

Agreed. It’s called hindsight for a reason and hindsight, obviously, is always going to be 20/20.

It would be like the other 29 teams crying about not drafting Albert Pujols in 1999.

5 years 3 months ago

First thing I would say is: “Sucks for the Royals.” On the other hand, when like… 10 other guys do better than the guy you drafted, that means two things. One is that 2005 was a very good year. The other one is that it’s possible that the Royals did not do a great job of scouting at that point. Judging by the talent they have accumulated in general, I think both are true.

aap212
5 years 3 months ago

In his first year of pro ball, he put up an OPS over 1000 in Double-A. That’s astonishing. He was one of the two or three best prospects in baseball by any reasonable measure and according to absolutely everyone. Something went haywire here. Maybe just one of those odd outliers of player development. But I don’t think it’s fair to say they scouted him wrong out of school.

jwsox
5 years 3 months ago

welcome to the rule 5 draft alex gordon….gotta love how the royals gave up on teahan because of Gordon and now they are giving up on him because some other prospect. man the royals just cant stick with one guy

indiansfan1234
5 years 3 months ago

Teahan sucks, they “gave up” trash.

LordD99
5 years 3 months ago

Not sure I’m going to jump all over the Royals for sending Gordon down if it’s part of some greater plan here. They may be aware of some issues that we’re not, such as the work issues ejwggc alluded to above. Not saying that’s true, but we just don’t know. Some times players need wake-up calls. That all said, the Royals need players like Gordon to step up if they want to become contenders in coming seasons. There is no future with the Jose Guillen’s of the world, so I’m hoping this is part of some bigger plan. Recent Royal history, though, is not promising on player development.

ejwggc
5 years 3 months ago

They traded Teahen for financial reasons. He would have been paid far too much for what he is able to provide on a bad team. Everybody love Mark, but he’s a much more useful piece for another team at that price

Redhawk
5 years 3 months ago

the saddest part of this…I’m old enough to remember when the Royals were one of, if not THE, best run baseball club in America.

As for Gordon…ehh…it happens. “Can’t miss” guys miss all the time.

Roundballer
5 years 3 months ago

Ask Frank White about Alex. He had him his only year at Wichita in AA when he was named Minor League Player of the Year. Only player in baseball history to be named College Player of the Year one year and Minor League Player of the Year the next year. The Royals screwed it up and Dayton knows it–why do you think he had three front office people in Omaha when Alex reported. Could be a great move to start over at a new position.

enhog
5 years 3 months ago

I love how people talk about his glove like he was a future gold glover…

2008-134 games, -4.0 UZR
2009-49 games, -1.7 UZR
2010-12 games, -4.2 UZR

Fault the Royals front office for many things, but this isn’t one of them. It was the right move. If Dayton Moore and David Glass found a cure for cancer, Rob Neyer and Posnanski would be on them for not coming up with it sooner….