Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It is nice to see the Royals on a little hot streak. One would prefer that it was against teams they will be facing for the rest of the year, and not National League teams they have beaten up on with some recent regularity. Still, any hot streak is a welcome one for this franchise.
One of the more interesting developments has been the play of career minor leaguer Mike Aviles. This is someone who has none of the "tools" that baseball scouts look for, yet has done nothing so far except hit. He has been outstanding really. It is a small sample size, but it is hard to imagine anyone longing for the return of Tony Pena Jr. Aviles seems to be one of those players who just doesn't look like the type of guy who should do what he does, yet continues to do it anyway.
Juxtapose that with Alex Gordon. Gordon is the first round draft pick who has almost all the aformentioned tools, yet continues to struggle. He strikes out far too often for someone who hits as few homeruns as he hits, and his average has dipped below .270.
The difference between the two players was well illustrated in Sunday's come from behind win against San Francisco. With no outs and the bases loaded, Gordon came to the plate. This is the supposed future of the franchise, and yet I don't think anyone believed he was going to come through. He didn't. He hit a shallow fly ball to center, not even deep enough to score a run. A batter later, Aviles came to the plate with the bases still loaded and now two outs. When Aviles shot a double into left filed it was exciting, but I realized I wasn't surprised. The excitement was in the fact that I thought he would come through and he did. I never feel that way about Gordon.
As I said, it is still early. The odds are probably still with Gordon having a better career than Aviles. But right now it is no contest who is more valuable to the Royals. I hope that is a lesson to the organization. I also hope that if there are other guys in the minors who have been playing great but just don't look right, that we consider bringin them up to see what they can do.