TD Top Prospects #4: Nick Gordon
Age: 21 (DOB: 10/24/95)
2016 Stats (A+): .291/.335/.386, 23 doubles, 6 triples, 3 home runs, 19/32 stolen base attempts
2016 Ranking: 4
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 60 | MLB : 50 | ESPN: 53 | BP: 48
What's To Like
Gordon knows what it takes to be a professional baseball player. His dad, Tom, did it as a pitcher for 21 years, including three All-Star Game appearances. His half-brother, Dee, has played in two All-Star games and has won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award.
While lineage doesn’t portend success, Nick Gordon has the work ethic to match his family’s prior accomplishments, if not surpass them.
An example of that desire to be great occurred shortly after being drafted - four days, to exact - when he signed his contract.
"The work doesn't stop," Gordon said after signing. "The drafting and getting signed is just a little piece of the pie. That's what my dad always says. Now's when the real work starts. It's time to achieve my goal and get ready to play."
It doesn’t hurt that Gordon has enough glove to stick at shortstop, where he’ll be solid, but not flashy, and a bat that will play at the top of the order as a potential .300-hitter each and every year.
We at Twins Daily may be selling Gordon short, as he was the only Twins prospect to make each of the four Top 100s mentioned above… and the lowest he checked in was at #60.
What's Left To Work On
When you hear Nick Gordon, you probably think of Dee Gordon and his prowess on the base paths. That’s not Nick. Nick is fast enough to be a bit of a menace, as evidenced by his 19 steals last year, but he was caught 13 times as well. He’ll need to be more efficient.
Gordon’s strikeout rate as a professional is around 17%, which is manageable, but his walk-rate of 4.7% in Fort Myers isn’t good enough. If Gordon is a .300-hitter, which isn’t asking for the moon, there’s no reason that he shouldn’t have an on-base percentage in the .370-range.
While he many never be a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, Gordon should be good enough to remain in the hole for most of his major league career. He’ll have to cut back on his errors, the 24 he committed as a shortstop led to a fielding percentage of .952.
Gordon remains skinny as a rail, so hopefully he'll continue to fill out as he continues to mature.
Like many of the team’s top pitching prospects, Gordon is ticketed to start 2017 in Chattanooga. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for fellow shortstop Engelb Vielma to also start his season in the Southern League. Could that cause the Twins to move Gordon around? He did make two starts at second base last year as well as one at third base. And Vielma is known for his defensive wizardry. If Jorge Polanco proves that he can handle shortstop, could Gordon be Dozier’s eventual replacement? (I highly doubt that.)
There are many questions that the franchise will (continue to) face as it pertains to the middle infield, but when all's said and done, Nick Gordon will be the answer to one of them… and hopefully for a long, long time.
- Cory Engelhardt and HitInAPinch like this