Moore: Alex Gordon making the most of his chances

From Jack Moore at on August 27, 2014:

Alex Gordon is working his way into the American League MVP race, thanks in part to the success of his Kansas City Royals, who have used a 25–8 stretch since July 22nd to move into first place in the American League Central. On Tuesday night, it was Gordon’s 2-run homer in the bottom of the ninth that pushed the Royals past Minnesota and kept them 1.5 games ahead of Detroit.

For the season, Gordon is hitting .283/.356/.454 with 16 home runs, and his 122 OPS+ is the only above-average mark in the Royals’ regular starting lineup, according to Baseball-Reference. He is the leader and face of what may be the first Royals team to make the playoffs since the colorful days of George Brett, a cool 29 years ago.

But if Gordon has anything resembling an MVP case, it does not rest on his bat, which pales in comparison to stars like Mike Trout (.288/.373/.559, 29 home runs), Jose Abreu (.308/.366/.598, 33 home runs), and Robinson Cano (.326/.394/.465, 11 home runs). Rather, it rests on his ability as a left fielder.

Gordon has been 22.4 runs better than the average left fielder, according to Ultimate Zone Rating — best of any major league fielder relative to position. Defensive Runs Saved, another defensive metric, rates him 22 runs better than the average left fielder — again, the best major league defender relative to position. Both metrics are available at FanGraphs.

The idea that Gordon is a brilliant left fielder is hardly controversial. Gordon moved to the position in 2011 and has proceeded to win three consecutive Gold Gloves.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 27, 2014. Last Updated: August 27, 2014.