|Cage Match: Alex Gordon vs. Shin-Soo Choo||Tweet|
|Written by Jason Ang|
|Monday, 18 March 2013 20:30|
Alex Gordon, OF – KC - .294, 14 HR, 72 RBI, 10 SB, .368 OBP vs. Shin-Soo Choo, OF – CIN - .283, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 21 SB, .373 OBP
Both Alex Gordon (11%) and Shin-Soo Choo (12%) possess excellent plate patience, and have done so throughout their careers. Both reached base via walk 73 times. The only difference is Choo did it in 598 AB to Gordon’s 642 AB.
For a third straight year, Gordon has successfully knocked down his strikeout rate, striking out 19.4% of the time, which he hasn’t shown since his days in college ball. While the strikeouts are still considered a little high for someone that hasn’t hit for a lot of power yet, Gordon was able to maintain the good batting average he showed in 2011, hitting .294 in 2012. Shin-Soo Choo’s 21.9% strikeout rate held steady this year, and was able to improve on 2011’s disappointing batting average, hitting .283 in 2012. Disturbing, however, was Choo’s ineffectiveness against southpaw pitching, hitting a paltry.199 against them, striking out 29% of the time. Gordon has shown large splits as well, hitting just .248 versus southpaws, however, the 23% strikeout is nowhere as drastic as Choo’s, which perhaps indicates some batting average upside.
Both Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Gordon showed similar OBP last year and that trend should continue in 2013. Shin-Soo Choo’s .373 OBP last year has a chance to improve with a much improved lineup behind him.
Both have 20-homer power, but when it comes to true power, Alex Gordon has a big advantage over Shin-Soo Choo. While Gordon hit the ball a lot harder last year with a 25% line drive rate, his flyballs have declined since 2008 when he hit 47.6% of his balls in the air. Last year’s 32.7% was a career low which resulted in an 8.5% HR/FB rate, justifying the disappointing 14 HR last year. Shin-Soo Choo doesn’t have the power potential that Gordon possesses, but like Gordon, hit the ball quite hard last year, with a 23.3% line drive rate. Unfortunately, also like Gordon, was his 27.1% flyball rate which resulted in a 16 HR campaign. Can a rejuvenated Choo reach the 20 homer plateau again with the move to one of baseball’s most homer friendly parks?
Both have 20-steal potential, but it will be particularly interesting to see how often Choo will get the green light under new manager Dusty Baker. If spring training is any indication, Choo should get the green light quite often. Gordon didn’t run as much last year and seems unlikely to get the green light much if he can’t improve on his stolen base efficiency (17-25 last year).
Both Shin Soo-Choo and Alex Gordon seem to be most comfortable batting leadoff. Choo’s .310 avg and .389 OBP means that Choo will be scoring a lot of runs with Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto behind him. Choo has the power to hit 20 home runs, with a potential for a slight bump provided he boost his flyball rate. If he can, the move from one of the harder parks to hit a homerun to one of the easiest should allow him to hit a few extra. Alex Gordon has the power to hit fifth in the lineup, but manager Ned Yost has said his preferred spot for Gordon is in the leadoff spot, where he hit .307 with a .379 OBP. Gordon has also shown to be even more dangerous a hitter when hitting in the second spot in a small sample; he hit .343 with a .425 and .982 OPS in 70 AB. If the Royals are looking to improve on the 20th ranking in runs scored, perhaps Yost experiments a little longer with Gordon hitting second.
Both players seem to be clones of each other. Both should hit for good average, hit at least 15 homeruns and score runs. The difference in their value will be whether you’re chasing the muscle or the speed. Choo will provide your team with more speed and probably more runs with some lethal bats behind him. While there’s a chance for a little power boost, it more than likely will result in a small handful more. If selecting Gordon, you’re gambling on his second half power surge, where he hit nine of his 14 homeruns. Just realize that the power potential will be limited if the flyball% remain in the low 30% range. While it appears his stolen bases may never exceed 20, he did improve on his efficiency going 7-9 over the second half. Whether improved stolen base efficiency equates to more opportunity remains to be seen, making Shin-Soo Choo (82 ADP according to mockdraftcentral.com) and Alex Gordon (62) similar in value for me for 2013.
Joel R said:
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 15:35|