Kansas City Royals: The Real Alex Gordon Has Finally Arrived

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IApril 21, 2011

Royals' left-fielder Alex Gordon is off to a great start to the 2011 campaign.
Royals' left-fielder Alex Gordon is off to a great start to the 2011 campaign.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When former Royals GM Allard Baird drafted then-University of Nebraska star Alex Gordon with the second overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, then-club officials were convinced that they just added a franchise third baseman to their team.

Gordon had the talent, stemming from his two first-team All-American selections in college, and the skills to become a dominant player in the majors—a cornerstone for a failing franchise that was in desperate need of one.

After an impressive season for the Royals' Double-A affiliate Wichita Wranglers in 2006, Gordon skipped Triple-A and was awarded the starting job at third base to open the 2007 season.

His first at-bat of his ML career came against veteran Curt Schilling on opening day at Kauffman Stadium.

It was this plate appearance that would define Gordon's first few years in Kansas City. He came up with the bases loaded and provided some promise by working the count but, in the end, he struck out and left many fans feeling empty.

Alex Gordon would continue to struggle for the next three seasons, while moving back and forth constantly between the Triple-A club and the big league team.

It wasn't until midway through the 2010 season when team officials decided that they were going to experiment with moving the one-time third base prospect to left field.

The move seemed like a gamble, but KC was willing to try anything considering Gordon was not cut out for the hot corner and they hoped the move to the outfield would help resurrect his fading career.

After another dismal season in 2010, Gordon promised that he would dominate in 2011, leaving many fans wondering why this hadn't already happened in the previous four seasons.

Fast forward to 2011 spring training.

Gordon had a huge spring, batting .343 with six homers and 23 RBI.

While many thought that the Lincoln, Nebraska native would come back down to earth and start struggling when the season officially got underway last month, Gordon has silenced his critics to this point.

The former first-round pick is batting .351 with nine doubles, 14 RBI and 16 runs scored in his first 17 games to start the season.

He has also been a force on defense, collecting four outfield assists while making several highlight-reel catches to begin the young season.

He's playing like an All-Star and the work that hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has done with him is starting to pay big dividends this year.

Royals Hall of Famer Frank White has said repeatedly that this is the Gordon he saw in the minors and that he is now the real deal for the Royals.

Could this be true? Can he keep "dominating" for an entire season?

Time will tell the answer to both of these questions but, for now, let's just sit back and enjoy the ride from here and hope that the real Alex has finally landed in Kansas City for good.