Grains of salt

Rob Neyer

If I gave you a choice of any non-Kershaw major leaguer for the rest of the season, who would you choose?

Right: Mike Trout. Get that dunce cap off your head and move a little closer to my desk, right this minute.

And your second choice?

I'm not going to make you put the dunce cap back on if you don't immediately think of Alex Gordon. But by this measure, he's actually been the best player in the major leagues this season. Yes, even better than Trout.

Well, not really. There's no functional difference between 5.7 fWAR and 5.6 fWAR. Better to say those two have been the two best in the majors this season.

What's interesting is how they get there. Trout's been the best hitter in the American League, but a poor fielder; Gordon's been the best fielder in the American League, but just a really good hitter.

Again, according to just this particular measure. And this is where I caution everyone, quite carefully: None of this means that the people at FanGraphs believe Alex Gordon is one of the two best players in the majors, or is as valuable as Mike Trout.

Every method has limitations, and we're simply looking for the method with the fewest limitations. Wins Above Replacement is really good. But this version, anyway, seems to overrate really good corner outfielders like Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward. I think Gordon's a great player. I'm just not sure he's this great.