by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There had been questions as to who would hit atop the Kansas City Royals lineup, as their speed options (Alcides Escobar and Raul Mondesi) have lacked the ability to draw walks and consistently get on base. We finally got the answer, though there had been plenty of speculation, according to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star (click here for the article):
“Yost confirmed that Gordon will begin the season as the club’s leadoff hitter when the season opens against the Minnesota Twins on Monday in Minneapolis.”
It makes sense, as Gordon owns a career .345 OBP and 9.8% walk rate. Sure he struggled last season (.312 OBP), but strikeouts (29.2%) and poor luck (.288 BABIP) were the culprits. The former had never been an issue before and with a 24.2% line drive rate it’s easy to envision the latter improving as well.
That should mean the ability to return to a .265+ hitter, but is it really enough?
Gordon brings little power, having never hit more than 23 HR in a season (and that came in 2011). He also is not a player that offers much speed, never stealing more than 17 bases in a season (also in 2011) and combining for 10 SB over the past two seasons. Now 33-years old, he isn’t going to suddenly find an extra gear.
With the aforementioned Escobar and Mondesi hitting at the bottom of the lineup, it’s not like Gordon is going to be given ample opportunity to drive in runs. That means his sole upside comes from the potential to score runs, though he could chip in 90+ R.
Last season there were 37 players who scored at least 90 runs (52 with at least 85 runs), so it’s not like he’ll be a difference maker in the category. Pairing 90 R with a lackluster average and maybe 15 HR and 7 SB means, there’s nothing “great” about him.
View Gordon as a solid player, though one whose name may carry more value than his on-field production. He doesn’t hurt you across the board, but he also doesn’t help. That means he’s not a player we’d be targeting.
Sources – Fangraphs, The Kansas City Star
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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|