Tag Archive | "Alex Gordon"


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Finding Keepers: Kansas City Royals

Posted on 06 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Kansas City Royals probably aren’t going to factor into any playoff scenarios this season but many of their young players will help you build a solid fantasy baseball team to make a run at your league’s championship title.

In the latest installment of Finding Keepers, I’ll take a look at the Kansas City Royals players on their 40-man roster you should be considering as “keepers” heading into the 2012 fantasy baseball season.

1B Eric Hosmer is primed to make a run at the upper echelon of fantasy baseball first basemen in 2012. In 128 games in 2011, he hit .293 with 19 home runs with 11 stolen bases. If his Spring Training numbers (.398 BA, 33 hits and 29 RBI in 28 games) are any indicator of things to come, fantasy owners who locked him up as their starting first baseman have nothing to worry about this season (and beyond).  His ADP is currently 52.06 and ranks: ESPN #45; Yahoo! #58; CBS #106.

OF Alex Gordon put together the season fantasy baseball owners have been hoping for since he burst on the scene in 2007. His 5×5 line of .303/101/23/87/17, along with his .376 OBP, .502 SLG and OPS+ of 140 have fantasy owners drafting him with an ADP of 62.37. Check out his rankings: ESPN #50; Yahoo! #40; CBS #87.

DH Billy Butler is starting to show fantasy owners what to expect from him each season rather than drafting him based on potential or perceived expectations. He’s probably only DH-eligible in your league now (lucky you if he still has 1B eligibility), so there’s that drawback but you can bank on a 5×5 line around .300/75/20/90/1. Rankings: ESPN #98; Yahoo! #127; CBS #111.

 Best of the rest but not a keeper

3B Mike Moustakas has 20-home run potential but only hit five in 365 plate appearances in his rookie season. He plays a premium fantasy baseball position and could easily become a keeper with a much-improved sophomore season.

OF Lorenzo Cain will be given every chance to show what he’s got this season and what he’s got is a .300 average and 30 stolen base potential. He will be fun to own but not yet a keeper.

C Salvador Perez had many fantasy owners targeting him as a sleeper for 2012 after a .331/20/3/21/0 in just 39 games in 2011. Unfortunately a Spring Training knee injury has virtually wiped out his entire season.

The Kansas City Royals farm system is currently ranked 5th overall by Baseball Prospectus and should continue to produce and promote quality players. Now if only they could have success growing some major league-ready pitchers. PS, Danny Duffy…not a keeper…yet.

So there you have it. How did you feel about the Royals’ roster heading into your fantasy baseball drafts and now into the 2012 season? Please use the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the discussion.


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Oops! Errors in baseball cards – Alex Gordon

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Oops! Errors in baseball cards – Alex Gordon

Posted on 15 March 2012 by Trish Vignola

Alex Gordon’s rookie card was the hottest in all of baseball. It sold for as much as $2,550. Here’s my first question. Who is Alex Gordon?

Is he the Second Coming of George Brett? Did I miss that on the ESPN ticker? If he is, please don’t tell George Brett. I don’t think he’ll take it well. Gordon has a lifetime batting average of .262 for the Kansas City Royals. Why are people paying couture handbag pricing for a piece of cardboard?

No. 297 in Topps’ 2006 set was worth apparently the price of a Vespa because it frankly should have never been produced in the first place. In part to reduce confusion in the marketplace, the Major League Baseball Players Association ruled that card manufacturers could make rookie cards only of players who either made the 25-man roster or played in a major league game the season before. For the 2006 season, Gordon didn’t qualify either way. After he led Nebraska into the College World Series, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft didn’t sign his contract until late September of that year.

“At the last second, we realized we had made a mistake, so we pulled the cards, destroyed them by cutting out the photo and then destroyed the plates,” said Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi in 2006.

Still, a fan named Jeremy Troutman pulled five of Gordon’s cards on a shopping trip in his hometown of Wichita. I think at the same time that year, I pulled five of Todd Pratt’s cards. Troutman sold all five of his cards to different collectors for a total of $5,761.79. My Todd Pratt cards aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

Although Topps destroyed the plates, Topps now believes a little under 100 of the Gordon cards got out. Apparently, most were traced to Wal-Marts across the country. Here I was being a Target snob.

Jason Mauk purchased one of the cards from a wholesaler for $1000. He then put it up on eBay and sold it for $1,425. Mauk claims almost 100 people put his auction on their watch list. He had never seen that happen before. Did I mention that was five Todd Pratt cards I pulled?

The last major error of this magnitude in the trading card industry happened in 1989. A Fleer card featuring Billy Ripken was released carrying an obscenity clearly written on the knob of the bat Ripken was holding. Ironically, my dad and I got this card several times. Fleer’s attempted cover-up created more than six versions of that card. We had two. The original remained the hottest property, selling for hundreds of dollars at the time. However, due to the extremely soft market, that card can now be had for $5.

I personally always thought Cal did it.

Gordon error card went through the roof, because of his potential. In his first full season as a pro, Gordon batted .326 with 6 home runs and 12 RBI with the Wranglers – a Royals’ minor league affiliate. Up with the big club now, he’s since cooled off. However, he’s definitely got potential.

Like the Ripken card, other versions of the Gordon card have emerged. One version has the photo missing so it just includes the thin card borders. It has been selling in the $30 to $50 range. There is one on eBay right now.

Frankly, it’s just creepy. A full Gordon card that just has his name on the front and a blank on the back has sold in the $100 to $200 range.

Before you go spend your tax refund on an Alex Gordon rookie card, take a breath. He too has now fallen victim to the soft market. It looks like the last fully intact version went for $300 bucks, a far cry from the thousands Jeremy Troutman pulled in a couple of years earlier.

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Open Mic: Critique This Draft Part 2

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Open Mic: Critique This Draft Part 2

Posted on 12 March 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Mic Check, 6 - 4 - 3

Consider this a 2nd open invitation to critique a fantasy baseball draft.  Flay it open, rip into it, and do not hold back.  But…before you do any flaying, ripping, or holding, consider the rules of etiquette.

  • Avoid the low-hanging fruit.  No references to anyone’s mom or a basement.
  • Try to omit words like “idiot”, “moron”, and “clueless”.  You will only receive the “I know you are but what I am” classic retort.  Welcome to the baseball kindergarten playground.  My Tonka truck is over there in the corner of the sand box.  Leave it alone.
  • Just assume that I’m aware of my mental health state, and I’m considered competent to drive a Segway on the sidewalks in my neighborhood.

When I wrote the original “Open Mic” piece, I was in the middle of a slow draft on Twitter for a 5×5 fantasy league.  Now seems like a good time to revisit that draft and bare my baseball soul for all to see.  Here is the end result for all 25 rounds along with a defense for some (if not all) of the picks.

  1. Robinson Cano (2B) – 104 runs, 28 hr, 118 rbi, 8 steals, .882 ops
  2. Jered Weaver (P) – 18 wins, 2.41 era, 0 saves, 198 strikeouts, 1.010 whip
  3. Clayton Kershaw (P) – 21 wins, 2.28 era, 0 saves, 248 strikeouts, 0.977 whip
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera (SS) – 87 runs, 25 hr, 92 rbi, 17 steals, .792 ops
  5. Alex Gordon (OF) – 101 runs, 23 hr, 87 rbi, 17 steals, .879 ops
  6. Shin-Soo Choo (OF) – 37 runs, 8 hr, 36 rbi, 12 steals, .733 ops
  7. Ben Zobrist (OF) – 99 runs, 20 hr, 91 rbi, 19 steals, .822 ops
  8. Aramis Ramirez (3B) – 80 runs, 26 hr, 93 rbi, 1 steal, .871 ops
  9. David Freese (CI) – 41 runs, 10 hr, 55 rbi, 1 steal, .791 ops
  10. Josh Beckett (P) – 13 wins, 2.89 era, 0 saves, 175 strikeouts, 1.026 whip
  11. Jose Valverde (P) – 2 wins, 2.24 era, 49 saves, 69 strikeouts, 1.189 whip
  12. Ricky Romero (P) – 15 wins, 2.92 era, 0 saves, 178 strikeouts, 1.138 whip
  13. Alex Avila (C) – 63 runs, 19 hr, 82 rbi, 3 steals, .895 ops
  14. Ryan Vogelsong (P) – 13 wins, 2.71 era, 0 saves, 139 strikeouts, 1.252 whip
  15. Nick Swisher (1B) – 81 runs, 23 hr, 85 rbi, 2 steals, .822 ops
  16. Jhonny Peralta (MI) – 68 runs, 21 hr, 86 rbi, 0 steals, .824 ops
  17. Jaime Garcia (P) – 13 wins, 3.56 era, 0 saves, 156 strikeouts, 1.320 whip
  18. Vance Worley (P) – 11 wins, 3.01 era, 0 saves, 119 strikeouts, 1.230 whip
  19. Allen Craig (OF) – 33 runs, 11 hr, 40 rbi, 5 steals, .917 ops
  20. Josh Willingham (OF) – 69 runs, 29 hr, 98 rbi, 4 steals, .810 ops
  21. Jason Motte (P) – 5 wins, 2.25 era, 9 saves, 63 strikeouts, 0.956 whip
  22. Jair Jurrjens (P) – 13 wins, 2.96 era, 0 saves, 90 strikeouts, 1.224 whip
  23. Matt Joyce (OF) – 69 runs, 19 hr, 75 rbi, 13 steals, .825 ops
  24. Russell Martin (UTIL) – 57 runs, 18 hr, 65 rbi, 8 steals, .732 ops
  25. Melky Cabrera (UTIL) – 102 runs, 18 hr, 87 rbi, 20 steals, .809 ops

In my own defense, I am just a huge Robinson Cano fan and think he could actually improve on last year.  On the other hand, I am putting a lot of faith in guys like Choo and Freese who lost significant time last season due to injury.  I admit to trying a catch a flyer (or three), but I believe I am taking chances on the right kinds of players.


  • I am already on record as stating that Cano is a stretch at the #1 pick.  However, I went with my philosophy that creating a substantial differential by stocking up on players at positions I deem shallow will help me success in the long term.  I consider Cano and Zobrist to be 2 of the top 8 guys at 2B.  Since snagging both also impacts the pool of available middle infielders (MI), I believe I may have given myself an advantage.
  • In theoretically giving myself an advantage, did I give up too much by not taking a top 3 guy at 1B.  Probably.  Possibly.  Dunno.  Though he is currently listed as an outfielder by Yahoo, Alex Gordan will be the man 1B for my team.  I truly expect him to be a top 10 guy at 1B, and I do not believe that the distinction between top 3 and top 10 at that position is enough to worry me.
  • I am to blame for starting a bit of an early run on starting pitchers, but Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander were both drafted early.  Actually, Halladay went at the end of the first round, and Verlander went in the middle of round 2.  The next two on my list were Kershaw and Weaver, so I took both.  Honestly, I do not regret the move at all, because the pitching staff could very well be the strength of this team.
  • Combining closers Valverde and Motte may be a bit of a gamble, but I tend to favor closers on teams that I believe will win a lot of games.  Drew Storen was a very tempting choice over Motte, but I just do not know what to expect from the Nationals this year.

Stealing Late:

  • There are several definitions of a “steal” in fantasy drafts.  My definition is picking up a player 2 or more rounds later than you expected OR drafting a player so late that you celebrate with a “man giggle”.  (NOTE: It is technically possible for both men and women to “man giggle”, but it is way funnier when a woman does it.)  Maybe I am wrong about Worley, but I was sure shocked to see him still on the board for my 18th pick.  He only started 21 games in 2011 and threw 131 2/3 innings.  If he gets another 8-10 starts, he projects to be a top 30 starter.  The fact that he was still available in the 18th round may only be slightly less surprising than Jurrjens being available in the 22nd round.
  • Melky Cabrera in the 25th round?  At that point most people are looking for a guy who maybe excels in one stat category or had a really off year.  Not this time.  Cabrera is coming off a season in which he posted a .809 ops, and his move to San Francisco does not scare me off at all.   His power numbers might suffer a little, but he may simply fill the stat sheet everywhere else.

That is it.  Have at it, but try to be kind.  If not for me, then do it for the children’s sake.

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Contract Bets: Salvador Perez

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Contract Bets: Salvador Perez

Posted on 01 March 2012 by Dennis Lawson

The Kansas City Royals have signed catcher Sal Perez to a long term deal that promises to keep him in the fold through 2016 but could last as long as 2019.  As a general rule, teams tend to do pretty well on long term deals that include more than 1 option year.  Why?  Well, those option years tend to come at the end of a contract when the annual salary tends to increase almost exponentially.   However, the general rule is usually applied to players who have a few years of established performance to aid teams in projecting performance.  The Perez deal may break the mold, so it seems like a great candidate for “Contract Bets” where we collectively pass judgment on a contract or trade and return to this same topic at a later date to continue a debate that we will table at some point here.

The Details:  The Royals have signed rookie catcher, Salvador Perez to a 5 yr / $7M with 3 option years that total around $20M.

Good Bet:  As long as Perez turns into at least a decent everyday catcher at the major league level, the bet should be good.  The Royals have protected themselves from the cost uncertainty of arbitration.  Even if Perez turns into a hybrid beast combination of Buster Posey and Brian McCann in a few years, the team won’t be on the hook from some potential 8-figure years.  If the likely worst case scenario is that he will just a solid backstop, the Royals still might realize some cost savings.  Consider a quick guess of $1.5M for the pre-arbitration years and another $5.5M for the first 2 years of arbitration.  Perez should be able to easily earn that $5.5M over 2 years.  If he turns into a top 20 catcher after 5 years, then the option years should be no-brainers for the Royals.

Bad Bet:  Maybe the Royals jumped the gun on this one just a bit.  As a standalone deal, this is possibly a push from a worst-case perspective.  However, this may very well impact the way guys like Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon assess their relative values within the organization.  The contract by itself looks like a real win for the Royals, unless Perez absolutely falls flat or happens to be abducted by aliens.  If it does indeed lead to some unintended consequences, then that certainly does reflect somewhat poorly on this organizational decision, but that seems like a chance worth taking.  Still, it sure seems like this contract could have been done a few months from now or even after the end of the season.

My Call:  I feel almost obligated to call this a “good bet” solely on the cost certainty component.  Hopefully, this contract also sends the right message to both the team and the fan base about the Royals being serious about building for the long term.

DISCLAIMER:  I refer to contracts as good or bad bets, because we really are talking about calculating or estimating odds on something that essentially is a moving target.  Unless you can predict the future, you simply cannot know whether or not the deal will work out better for the club or the player.  Maybe this subtle semantic differentiation is not worth mentioning, but there is a notable difference between knowing about a past event or series of events and believing that you know about events yet to pass.

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Dual Threat – 10 Players To Know Who Cover Multiple Positions

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Dual Threat – 10 Players To Know Who Cover Multiple Positions

Posted on 13 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Check your league’s rules closely.  If a player only needs 5 games at any given position to qualify for use at that position, then here are 10 players to keep in mind.  You can never have too much quality depth.

Courtesy of Minda Haas

  1. Alex Gordon (1B – 7, OF – 148) – Gordon’s numbers in 2011 were good enough to make him a legitimate top 10 guy at 1B, even though he spent most of his time in the outfield.  With the recent migration of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to the AL, Gordon could be the forgotten man.  Do not make that mistake on a guy who hit .303/.376/.502/.879 with 101 runs scored and 87 RBI.
  2. Mike Napoli (C – 61, 1B – 35) – Napoli may be one of the few guys worth selecting as a starter for 2 positions.  Think for a moment about the potential for someone who hit 30 HR while batting .320/.414/.631/1.046 in just 432 plate appearances.
  3. Lance Berkman (OF & 1B) – With 126 appearances in the outfield and 21 at first base, Berkman may be the most obvious player on this list.  If he comes close to duplicating his .301/.412/.547/.959 line with 90 runs and 94 RBI from 2011, his stock will likely stay high, especially in NL-only leagues.
  4. Ben Zobrist (2B – 131, OF – 38) – Zobrist’s 2011 campaign was good for his career high in runs (99) and RBI (91), and it was not even his best season for WAR (5.1 vs 7.0 in 2009).  He does not appear to be a candidate for any significant regression, and the depth at 2B in the AL is not what it once was.
  5. Daniel Murphy (1B – 52, 2B – 24, 3B – 28) – Getting a guy who covers 3 bases represents a decent amount of insurance.  Getting a guy who did so while also hitting .320/.362/.448/.809 represents a whole lot of insurance.  In some small leagues, he might be available as a backup.  In large leagues, he may very well be someone’s starter.
  6. Jack Hannahan (1B – 8, 3B – 104) – If you are looking for a guy with a lot of potential upside at the corner infield positions, then keep Hannahan in mind.  He managed 40 RBI and 8 HR in only 366 plate appearances.  He probably will not push your team over the top, but he may provide some good numbers for short stretches.
  7. Pablo Sandoval (1B – 6, 3B – 107) – While Sandoval certainly makes my top 10 for guys at the hot corner, it is his ability to also play 1B that makes him a little more valuable than others at that position.  Not many players can cover the corner infield spots and post a .900+ OPS.  Sandoval can.
  8. Ruben Tejada (2B – 55, SS – 41) – Tejada will not bring with him the promise of great power numbers, but he can get on base, and that cannot be considered a bad thing.
  9. Martin Prado (OF – 100, 42 – 3B) – Under no circumstance would I rate Prado a really high draft pick, but he makes a lot of sense as a 4th outfielder who can also give you some time at 3B.  He is only 2 seasons removed from a 100 run, 66 RBI season, so you could do worse in terms of a backup at 2 positions.
  10. Allen Craig (OF – 48, 2B – 8) – If Craig has a regular spot to play this season, he can be an impact player on offense.  Just consider his 2.9 WAR in only 75 games played in 2011.  If not for offseason knee surgery and questions about playing time, Craig would rate slightly higher up this list.

Yes, there are a lot more where these guys came from, but I’ve got to keep a few to myself.  After all, I play fantasy baseball, too.

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