Fifty Shades of Ks

My composite image of Alex Gordon batting is a weak, awkward swing on a ball out of the zone for strike three late in the game. Not exactly fair since Alex is in the conversation for the Royals' best offensive player with Billy Butler, and considering the huge uproar caused by moving him from first to third in the batting order.

Alex does strikeout a lot, about .893 per game over his career.





Alex Gordon




Billy Butler




Alcides Escobar




Eric Hosmer




Gordon has made great strides since his first few years, and appears to be headed toward becoming a decent and consistent offensive force.

But the strikeouts...

Shades of Ks

I've been fond of analyzing the strikeout since my first at-bat in little league - let's just say that I admired three very fine pitches.

Everybody handles the strikeout differently. Butler seems shocked, incensed, enraged - glaring back at the pitcher thinking you better be on the mound the next time I come up. Hosmer is dazed and confused, walking back to the dugout thinking why is this happening to me?

When Gordon strikes out, he appears defeated, letting the air of confidence escape.

Is the strikeout just another out, or is the strikeout a sign of an off-night? Is striking out motivation to produce in the next at-bat, or a confidence killer?

The Legend of ‘Bad' Alex

Just as there is a ‘Good' Luke and ‘Bad' Luke, there is a ‘Good' Alex and ‘Bad' Alex. The ‘Bad' Alex has played about 19% of the games in 2012, striking out two or more times in a game.

The following tables compare Gordon to Butler, Escobar and Hosmer to help gauge what Gordon's numbers say about his hitting and strikeouts. The breakdown is on games with no strikeouts, one strikeout and two or more strikeouts.

Clearly, the batting average would be lower the more strikeouts you have in a game, so a second batting average was added to the tables for at-bats excluding strikeouts.

Theoretically, a player would have the same batting average on nights with no strikeouts as he would on nights with strikeouts, excluding strikeouts. This assertion appears to be mostly true for Butler, Escobar and Hosmer, but Gordon, not so much.

In Gordon's case, in addition to the decline in batting average, the other stats listed in the tables show a much greater drop-off than Butler, Escobar and Hosmer experience.


  • Only Gordon's batting average (excluding Ks) declined with more strikeouts (.391, .360, .326) suggesting that strikeouts affect other at-bats
  • Butler/Escobar/Hosmer all improved their batting average (excluding Ks) in games they had two or more, and showed greater consistency in runs, walks and doubles per game
  • Gordon has at least one K in 64% of games, the others about 50%
  • Only Hosmer's strikeouts showed a strong link to team winning/losing
  • Only Butler has avoided a three K game
  • More of ‘Bad' Alex's games occur on the road


This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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