by John Viril—
Kansas City Royals LF Alex Gordon is mired in a three-month-long slump. Gordon was hitting .340 with an OPS of .882 when the Royals hired George Brett as hitting coach on May 30. Today, Gordon is hitting .262 with an OPS of .734. He’s declined to become an exactly league average hitter with an OPS+ of 100.
The simple fact is that Alex Gordon’s problem seems to be his sudden inability to hit the inside pitch.
We can see this fact by comparing his batted ball results from the first two months of the season to the last three (through August 18). The heat map below is from the perspective of the catcher—thus a left-handed hitter like Alex Gordon would take his stance to the right side of this diagram from baseballheatmaps.com:
If we limit the sample to hard stuff—i.e. Fastballs, two-seam and four-seam fastballs and cut fastballs—we see an even more pronounced decline:
What we see here is improvement hitting outer half fastballs high in the strikes zone and a prett...