It seems that we still need to talk about Alex Gordon. We've all got the basic arch of the Gordon story down: semi-local guy, high draft pick, destroys minors, standing ovation at his first at bat, subsequent struggles and injuries. A dark cloud seems to follow this guy around and it seems like he's always in the middle of bizarrely bad things. It appears that he's fallen out of favor with many casual or mainstream fans, and the whispers about his personality just won't go away.
If I was to stress one single thing about Gordon right now, I would identify uncertainty as the overriding theme. This is not an entirely bad thing.
- The last year of reliable information we have about Gordon is 2008, when he hit .260/.351/.432 with a wOBA of .344. There's really no point in citing 2009, one way or the other. I know it's starting to feel like Gordon has been around forever, but he really hasn't. He just hasn't. He's played two seasons + about three weeks. He's come to the plate 1373 times in the Major Leagues. Billy Butler, by comparison, is nearly at 1600 PAs (1576).
We need to embrace the uncertainty of the situation. For some reason, many people love to dream about the future of guys in High A, but after a player's rookie year in the Major Leagues, we go hard in the other direction, eager to put a ceiling on a player as quickly as possible. The Royals aren't, or at least shouldn't be, at a crossroads yet with Alex Gordon, even if it seems like they are. Yes, Gordon didn't arrive as an instant star right away. Boo Hoo. Guess what? It wouldn't have mattered anyway. If anything, I'd rather have Gordon be a late bloomer with a lower price tag, if that means he's contributing to a competitive team during Zack's final years here. 2010 is an opportunity for the Royals to get Alex healthy, and get him more experience. And honestly, this may make the 2010 a little worse, depending on how bullish you are about Callaspo playing third. That shouldn't matter.
Right now, here are the legitimate position player assets that we can be certain will be Royals in 2011-12: Billy Butler. We have to see if Gordon will be a part of that future.