KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In just his second full season as a major league left fielder, the Royals’ Alex Gordon is now setting the standard at the position.
Gordon won his second straight Gold Glove on Tuesday and became just the second Royals’ outfielder to ever win multiple Gold Gloves. Amos Otis was the other.
After setting a club record and leading the majors in 2011 with 20 outfield assists, Gordon came back with another superb defensive season in 2012, notching 17 outfield assists – second most in the majors behind teammate Jeff Francoeur’s 19.
Gordon would seem to be in line for several more Gold Gloves to come.
“It would be nice,” Gordon said Tuesday night in a teleconference call. “Hopefully I can keep playing consistent and produce and bring a few more Gold Gloves home.”
Gordon was one of four Gold Glove finalists from the Royals – third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer and Francoeur were the others.
“And I thought we had a couple other guys who should get consideration,” Gordon said. “(Alcides) Escobar is the best shortstop I’ve ever seen. And (catcher) Sal Perez would have (been a finalist) if he’d played the whole season.
“I feel like we’re a young team that’s starting to get recognized as a good defensive team. Those guys are young and they’re only going to get better, and hopefully they will get their recognition later in their careers. It’s just tough competition around the league for some of them.”
After winning the award last season, Gordon vowed he would get even better defensively.
“I think I did,” he said. “I don’t know what it looked like (to everyone) but I felt more relaxed and felt more confident. I thought I could play balls better off the walls, maybe take better angles, and I think I did.” Gordon’s outfield assists were down from 2011, but that probably was a product of respect from opposing teams not wanting to test his arm.
“I think there was some of that,” he said. “I know the White Sox held up a couple of times and I saw Detroit hold up, too. There were teams that were still aggressive, but as an outfield, I think we did a good job of holding teams down.”
Gordon, who signed a four-year, $37.5 million extension last spring, said he did have a few favorite defensive moments this year, starting with reaching over the wall in Detroit to rob Miguel Cabrera of a home run late in the season.
“That was pretty special because Cabrera was going for the Triple Crown,” Gordon said. “I don’t think the Detroit fans liked that too much. I took a homer away in Minnesota earlier in the year, too. Those feel pretty good.”
As good as gunning down a runner? “Those are pretty nice, too,” Gordon said. “I think I learned a lot from Jeff (Francoeur), just watching how he does it. We’ve had a great relationship.”
Gordon and Francoeur helped the Royals become the first team since the 1909-10 Red Sox to have two different players lead the league in outfield assists in back-to-back seasons.
Not a bad accomplishment, especially for Gordon, who began his major-league career at third base.
“It’s funny because I remember when I was a third baseman,” Gordon recalled, “I would be in the outfield shagging balls during batting practice and I’d tell my teammates how much I wanted to be an outfielder. Now I am. I guess it was meant to be.”
The Gold Gloves are sponsored by Rawlings and date to 1957. The award is voted on by managers and coaches.