Twins Daily Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon
Age: 22 (DOB: 10/24/1995)
2017 Stats (AA): .270/.341/.408 (.749), 9 HR, 29 2B, 8 3B, 13/20 in stolen base attempts
2017 Ranking: 4
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 93 | MLB : 80 | ESPN: 37 | BP: 35
What’s To Like
Gordon headed to the Arizona Fall League last off-season and got his off-season started on the right foot. In over 90 plate appearances, he slashed .346/.418/.444 while playing over 165 innings at shortstop. He ranked sixth in the league in batting average and on-base percentage. There was only one player younger than Gordon in the top-10 for either of those categories.
During last spring, Nick’s brother Dee Gordon was able to make some predictions about his coming season. “He’s going to be strong. He’s already a lot bigger and stronger than me when I was 21,” he told the Star Tribune. “He’s got a good eye, and you can already see he’s going to develop some power.”
Gordon was able to transition his success in the AFL to the season’s early months. From April through June, he hit .308/.379/.481 with six home runs, 21 doubles and six triples. Twins manager Paul Molitor took notice of Gordon’s offensive abilities. Molitor told the Pioneer Press, “Not surprisingly reports are his bat is still very advanced. We’re trying to make sure the rest of his game catches up, and I think he is making progress in that regard.”
His hot hitting in the season’s early months led to some mid-season awards. Gordon represented the Twins at the Futures Game in Miami and he was a Southern League all-star. By season’s end he had set career highs in home runs (9), doubles (29), triples (8) and slugging percentage (.408).
For the first time in his professional career, Gordon was three years younger than the competition at his level. He only faced off against younger pitchers in 55 at-bats. In those at-bats, he compiled a .955 OPS with eight extra-base hits. As a lefty, hitting against righties was also a strength for him. All nine of his home runs came against right-handed pitching which helped him to post an .822 OPS.
What’s Left To Work On
Defense has always been an area in need of improvement for Gordon. Since the Twins drafted him, there have been questions about whether he would be able to stick at shortstop. A veteran scout watched Gordon in Chattanooga last year and he doesn’t think Gordon can stay at short long-term. “You know how the best fielders always seem to get the good hop?” the scout asked. “Watching Gordon, he never seemed to get the good hop. For him, it was always the in-between hop. That’s instincts. That’s footwork. That’s hands.”
Gordon hasn’t been shy about his defensive future. “The Twins know what they need, they know what they want,” he said. “Whatever they need me to do, whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want to play.”
Left-handed pitchers also presented some issues for Gordon. In over 139 plate appearances against lefties, he hit .174/.273/.240 (.513). These totals were very similar to those in his first taste of full season ball in 2016. In those 129 appearances against lefties, he hit .220/.276/.254 (.530). Gordon will need to improve those totals if he wants to break into the big leagues over the next couple of seasons.
Since the Twins signed him, he’s added close to 20 pounds. This has helped him to add some power but not sacrificing speed. He knows the strike zone fairly well but he could continue to improve in this area.
Gordon has yet to repeat a level so that could ticket him to play all of 2018 at Rochester. However, he only turned 22 in October and his hitting decreased significantly at the end of the year. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Twins send him back to the Southern League to get his bat going at the start of 2018. A hot-hitting Gordon could be a prospect to watch in 2018, especially if the Twins fall out of contention.
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TD Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon
TD Top Prospects: #2 Coming Soon...