SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alex Gordon has yet to play a game in the Major Leagues, but don't be surprised if his face will soon appear on Wheaties boxes, Sports Illustrated covers and nearly every billboard in Kansas City.
An up-close look at the club as we approach Opening Day
For visiting national media, stopping by Gordon's cubicle is a Spring Training must. He may be the most interviewed player in the Royals' clubhouse."I don't know about that, but I get my fair share," Gordon said. "It's all right. It's a good problem to have." It comes with the territory of being branded the Royals' next franchise player. The first, of course, was Hall of Famer George Brett, who like Gordon played third and hit left-handed. "Gordon can be a franchise-type player," said Brett, a Royals vice president who was in uniform in Spring Training. "He's got a chance to be a pretty good player -- offensively, defensively, base running and everything else that you want to characterize a third baseman. I think he's as good as there is right now in the game. He's a pretty special kid." Brett said Gordon's swing is not similar to his. "He's got power. He's strong. I'm not," Brett said. "At 22 years old, I was learning how to pull the ball, and he already knows how to pull the ball. He hits with brute strength. I had to hit with pure mechanics. He's got good mechanics, but he can hit with brute strength and, obviously, I don't have that. Through proper mechanics I developed strength. I hit home runs because I had good mechanics. He doesn't even need good mechanics to hit home runs. He's very disciplined at the plate. Ball away, he'll hit it to left. Ball in, he'll pull it with power." Gordon grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and was a two-time Nebraska High School Player of the Year, hitting .483 with 25 home runs and 112 RBIs at Southeast High. His grandfather, Charlie, was a longtime coach at Lincoln Southeast before Alex arrived. Gordon, however, went undrafted out of high school because of his allegiance to the Cornhuskers, where his father Mike played. "Me and my family made it clear that I was going to college," Gordon said. "Scouts got kind of scared of that, so that is why I didn't get drafted." Three years later, with a .353 career average at Nebraska, the Royals selected him second overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Gordon has always been a good hitter since he started playing tee ball. "I don't like to brag or anything, but I've done OK I guess," he said. "I've always been able to hit. I take that from coaches I've worked with." More than mechanics, there is also the mental game going on between pitcher and batter. "In my mind, when I go up to the plate I'm thinking that I'm a great hitter and I'm going to get a hit and this pitcher is not going to get me out," Gordon said. "That is just my mentality when I go up there: that I'm a great hitter. "I hate failing. So if I go out there and have an 0-for-4 day, I'm going to come in and get in the cages and try to fix it anyway that I can."
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.