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The Journey of Alex Gordon

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Okay, so he's not George Brett. But Alex Gordon is a damn good player.

Alex Gordon
Alex Gordon
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

With his team in the World Series, Kansas City Royals outfielder is finally getting his due recognition as one of the best players in baseball. His 6.6 fWAR ranks fifth among position players this year. Even if you think that the specific fWAR system grants Gordon too much credit for his superior left field defense, he still has to rank among the better outfielders in MLB by any fair standard.

Yet the idea persists in some quarters of fandom that Gordon is some kind of disappointment as a player. He was supposed to be the next George Brett, after all. Instead he's "just" a really good player

This goes back to the unrealistic expectations that all prospect folk tend to have about young players. I'm as guilty of that as anyone, having fallen in love with Gordon in college and not being shy about it.

Looking back through old material, I found this "Not a Rookie" article about Gordon written in March 2010, after his injury-riddled '09 but before his weak '10. It is long and won't repost the whole thing here, but you can go back and read it of course. This was the conclusion:

Some people are down on Gordon and consider him a failed prospect , but I think that's a mistake. His rookie season wasn't what people hoped for, but he had skipped Triple-A and he wasn't terrible overall. His sophomore season showed improvements. Last year was obviously an injury season; once he was healthy in September he performed closer to expectations. He has spent the off-season rehabbing and getting himself back into proper physical condition, and the hip injury is reportedly no longer an issue at all. He's 26 now, entering his prime seasons.

Although I don't think that Alex is going to be the superstar originally envisioned, I still think he will be a very good player and an above average regular for a long time. Maybe he isn't George Brett, but there's nothing wrong with him becoming Tim Wallach, Ron Cey, or Sal Bando.

Gordon converted to the outfield after that was written, so instead of being Wallach or Cey or Bando, he's more like Dave Henderson, Larry Hisle, and Joe Rudi, to pull some 70s/80s names off his Sim Score comp list. Those types of players don't get in the Hall of Fame, but they are damn valuable and they help you win pennants.

Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon, photo by Ed Zurga, Getty Images