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One-time phenom Alex Gordon has somewhat quietly established himself as one of best players in the game.
Last year, Alex Gordon won a Gold Glove.
This was a surprising turn of events, considering a) Gordon was 27, and b) 2011 was his first full season as an outfielder. Sure, it helped that for the first time in many years, the voters were compelled to specifically choose a left fielder. Still, Gordon wasn't on anybody's list of Gold Glove candidates before the season.
Somehow, he impressed the voters enough to finish atop the ballot after the season. Oh, and his numbers were outstanding; not quite as good as Brett Gardner's, maybe, but outstanding none the less.
Had to be a fluke, though, right? After all, we can't trust our eyes and we can't trust defensive metrics in just one season. Well, feast your eyes on this play from Thursday afternoon in Detroit:
And the metrics? Gordon's Defensive Runs Saved and his Ultimate Zone Rating are almost exactly the same this season as last season. He really is, by almost any measure, an outstanding left fielder, the best in the majors over the last two seasons.
Oh, and Gordon's consistency extends to his hitting. Some numbers:
2011: 690 PA, 72 XBH, 67 BB, 139 SO
2012: 695 PA, 67 XBH, 67 BB, 136 SO
Before 2011, Gordon's performance was all over the map as he suffered various injuries, went up and down between the majors and minors, and played different positions. Now he's just this guy. A really good guy, and easily the Royals' best player. Just like the second pick in the amateur draft is supposed to be.