5 reasons Gordon is a highly valued free agent
Though he may get overshadowed by higher-profile names, Alex Gordon is without a doubt one of the top position players available on this offseason's free-agent market.
Gordon, who will turn 32 in February, has established himself as one of the game's top all-around left fielders over his nine-year career. The former No. 2 overall Draft pick is the focus of this latest installment in an ongoing series that highlights five key stats for each of the top free agents in this year's class.
Here's a closer look at five facts and figures for Gordon, who has spent his entire Major League career with Kansas City.
1. Defensive force
Gordon is unquestionably one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, evidenced by his 94 Defensive Runs Saved since the start of the 2011 season. That ranks second during that span, behind only Jason Heyward's 107. To put that further into perspective, no other outfielder has more than 64 DRS in that same time period. Gordon also won four consecutive American League Gold Glove Awards from 2011-14 before having that streak snapped in an injury-marred 2015 season.
2. All-around talent
Gordon is the only outfielder with an offensive WAR of at least 2.0 and a positive defensive WAR in each of the past five seasons. Only three other players, regardless of position, have accomplished the feat in each of the past five years. Gordon has also recorded an overall WAR of 6.0 or better three times within the past five seasons. That puts him in some elite company, as the only other players to exceed a 6.0 WAR in at least three of the past five years are Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson, Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano, Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera.
3. Timely hitting
Gordon provided one of the key moments in the 2015 World Series, shocking the Mets with a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1. With the Royals two outs away from falling behind, 1-0, in the Series, Gordon hit a rare long ball off Mets closer Jeurys Familia that sent the game to extra innings, and Kansas City ultimately emerged victorious. It was Gordon's third career postseason home run, each of which has come in the ninth inning or later with his team tied or trailing. Even in the regular season, Gordon is a career .309/.451/.531 hitter in 104 career extra-inning plate appearances.
4. Speed-power threat
Prior to his injury-plagued 2015 campaign, Gordon had recorded double-digit home runs and steals, as well as 20-plus doubles, in four straight years from 2011-14. He was one of only four players -- along with McCutchen, Ben Zobrist and Ian Kinsler -- to reach all of those plateaus in each of those four seasons. Gordon led the Majors with 51 doubles in 2012, and his 157 two-baggers from 2011-14 ranked fourth during that span, behind only Cano (172), Cabrera (166) and Adrian Gonzalez (165).
5. Interleague success
Whether Gordon decides to join a National League team remains to be seen, but he has certainly thrived against NL opponents throughout his career. Gordon has registered a .304/.383/.510 slash line with 21 home runs and 13 stolen bases in Interleague Play. Since Gordon entered the league in 2007, only he and Kinsler have hit at least .300 in Interleague Play with 20 or more home runs and double-digit stolen bases. Even more impressive is that Gordon has racked up those numbers in only 125 Interleague games, while Kinsler -- who also has 21 Interleague homers -- has played 162 games against NL opponents.