He's been hot lately, and I was thinking we'd see a bit of this sooner or later. Of course, we all remember his scorching April -- an unsustainable .979 OPS and good times, right? But I think what's most telling about his season thus far isn't April; it's May.
"But Daniel!" you say, eyebrow arched. "How can that be? His numbers in May weren't good!"
Ah, and you're correct. But something about May stands out to me -- it wasn't bad, either.
We've seen a few Royals hitters regress to their hitting talent levels this year after a hot start -- Jeff Francoeur, Chris Getz, Wilson Betemit, for examples -- but when Alex had his slump after his hot streak, it wasn't a crash, it was simply that he didn't do as well for a while.
Some things to note about May:
- Alex never went on an extended slump -- he had 3 games in a row once where he didn't get a hit, but it was a total of 9 plate appearances. Other than that, he never went more than two games without contributing.
- The lowest point his OPS reached was .779
- He slightly increased his walk rate, and his isoP remained level
- He only had 3 of 27 games where he failed to either get a hit or draw a walk, and one of those three games was only a pinch-hit appearance.
Sure, May was still Alex's regression to his talent level, but it also showed that even while slumping, he found ways to contribute and still was a useful hitter in the lineup.
Now he looks to be heating up again, and who knows? If he's capable of running an OPS well over .900 for a full month once, he could do so again this year. But even moreso than the hot streaks, what convinces me that Alex Gordon has finally arrived is his first slump of the year wasn't him becoming a bad hitter for a while, it was him only being a mediocre hitter for a while.
If only he could find a way to hit better on the road...