By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
They classed the place up, huh?
As you can see, weve changed formats here. Im not sure exactly what this will mean, hopefully nothing for you other than your patience while I figure out a new system. Im slow. You already knew that.
Alex Gordon said something interesting to Bob Dutton the other day, and its here in this notebook. He was talking about his success in clutch situations, and the numbers this year are pretty stark. Look:
With two outs, Gordon is hitting .383 with a .437 on-base and .596 slugging percentages. With runners in scoring position, hes hitting .373/.443/.508. In Baseball-Reference-defined high leverage situations, hes hitting .313/.425/.493.
Now, some of this can be dismissed as small sample size and yada-yada-yada. I dont really believe in The Clutch Hitter as a thing, partly because of all the statistical studies that have broken down the easy perception, and partly because that idea by definition means The Clutch Hitter is coasting through most of his career.
But, anyway, Gordon does have three walk-off hits this year, the latest coming in the 10th inning on Wednesday. Heres what he told Dutton:
It could be from past struggles in those kind of situations. I know when the crowd gets really excited and pretty loud, I always like to step out and try to calm myself down, not let the adrenaline get too high or try to do too much.
I love this. Learning from struggles. Showing growth. A star who grinded through some rough times.
Its why Dayton Moore told Gordons rise is the best thing Ive ever experienced in sports in this column.
The NBA Draft is among the many things Im not an expert on. There are players I see in college who I expect to be stars (Ill never understand Doug Smith) and players I expect to be NBA peasants (I remember Russell Westbrook being the second-best guard on his college team) and Im quite often wrong.
So disclaimers out of the way Ben McLemore went SEVENTH?
In this draft?
The best shooter, one of the best athletes?
Look, I get the weaknesses. He needs to get tougher, and not just physically. Needs to be assertive, needs to play up to his talent level. There are off-the-court concerns about how hell handle demands, I get all that.
But youre telling me Anthony Bennett, Cody Zeller and Alex Len are going to be better NBA players than McLemore?
Whatever. Ill probably be wrong again.
There will be more coming in the column, but if the case against Aaron Hernandez is to be believed, he is not only an evil person, but an incredibly stupid evil person.