Top Prospect Alert
2005 Draft Prospect Interview
Third Base - Nebraska Cornhuskers
Alex Gordon’s first season as a Nebraska Cornhusker could be described as nothing short of solid. He batted .319, with seven home runs, and 48 RBI's while displaying a flair for the dramatic, hitting .416 and driving in 22 runs when batting with two outs. He was the only Cornhusker named to the Big 12 all-tournament team, and the rest of college baseball took notice, naming the emerging star a Freshman All-American.
However, Gordon felt the sting of a season ending 7-0 loss at home to Southwest Missouri State in regionals, and decided to use his disappointment as a tool to make himself into a better ballplayer.
“I think the way our season ended my freshman year really got me motivated to come back stronger the next season,” said Gordon. “Over the summer after my freshman season, I played summer ball and I was just saying to myself 'be one of the best players I can be', and I think it paid off.”
His determination and hard work during the offseason would pay dividends, as in 2004, Gordon burst onto the national stage, hitting .365, doubling his total in home runs with 18, while driving in 75 runs.
Gordon attributes all of his statistical improvements to Nebraska head coach Mike Anderson.
“Coach Anderson talks every day about getting better the next day, keep working hard, and just try to get a little better everyday. By doing that, you can’t take days off,” Gordon said.
Following his sophomore season, Gordon became the first Cornhusker since Kansas City Royal, Ken Harvey (1999), to receive unanimous first-team All-American honors. He was named as the 2004 Big 12 Player of the Year, and became the first Husker since 1985 to be selected to play on the U.S. National Team.
Major League Baseball scouts took notice of Gordon's dominating sophomore season, and he has been projected as a top 10 overall pick in this June's draft by a number of publications, this after being undrafted out of high school.
“(Seeing my name in the draft projections) was kind of a cool feeling, it gave me goose bumps all over,” Gordon said.
According to Gordon, the high expectations were flattering but overwhelming at the same time. The pressure he was feeling was reflected in his stats. Through his team's first 10 games this season, Gordon batted just .265 with two homers and six RBI's.
“It has been a different experience dealing with all the pressure. Earlier in the season, I was just trying to do too much. I am going to try to do what I’ve done for the last couple of years. I am starting to come around, and I am learning a lot on how to deal with it and just focus on the games.”
Gordon is coming around. He batted .666 with a home run, two doubles, and five RBI's in a four game weekend set against South Dakota State that concluded March 13th. The weekend tear raised Gordon's 2005 season batting average 105 points to a more than respectable .370.
A native of Lincoln, Gordon said the decision to stay in his hometown and play for the Huskers was an easy one.
“I was really lucky to be able to play college ball in my hometown,” Gordon said. “The fact that I have all my family here made it a very easy decision for me to choose Nebraska. Choosing to come to college was probably one of the best decisions of my life. I did have an opportunity to go into the draft after high school, but getting into that kind of situation, in the pros out of high school, I think it can be a difficult transition for some people.”
Gordon comes from a family rich in baseball tradition. His brother played college baseball at The University of Nebraska at Omaha, and his father, Mike Gordon, was a Cornhusker himself.
“(Being around or playing baseball) was something that we almost always did. It is kind of sad really,” Gordon said jokingly. “If we weren’t playing a game, we were watching it on TV, or talking about it.”
--Jason Blasco is a freelance writer for Beckett Football and Beckett Baseball Magazine. He is a contributor to the Peoria Times Observer, and is based out of Peoria, Ill.