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Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #5 Jordan Balazovic

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:17 AM
Who is the best pitching prospect in the Twins system? That answer has changed several times over the past few years as promising arms ha...
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Astros, Bauer, Pohlad's, Twins, Future of MLB

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:13 AM
BIG title right? But I think MLB is sitting at a unique precipice right now, and we, as baseball fans, should be concerned about everythi...
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Romero not in camp?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:33 AM
As a post note on the Hardy article, Do-Hyoung Park mentions that Fernando Romero is not in camp.   "He is stuck in the Dominic...
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Minor Leaguers to get a Raise

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:25 PM
https://apnews.com/1...a2641244e0c00fd     Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised...
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Astros Being Investigated for Using Tech to Steal Pitchin...

Other Baseball Yesterday, 07:54 PM
I can no longer say I want the Twins to emulate the Astros. Bush league maneuver to use cameras in order to steal signs.
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The Uncertain Future Of Nick Gordon

On June 5, 2014, the Twins appeared to have made a move that would greatly impact their future middle infield for years to come. On that day, they drafted Nick Gordon out of Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. Gordon was a fantastic high school player who hit .505 and pitched to a 0.78 ERA over 35 2/3 innings in his last year of high school baseball. Also armed with great baseball genes through his father Tom Gordon who was a three-time All-Star over the 21 years he pitched in MLB. Also, his brother Dee Gordon is a two time All-Star himself and current player for the Seattle Mariners. It seemed like Nick Gordon was destined to be an important piece on the Twins for years.
Image courtesy of © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Early on as a prospect, Gordon’s skills were disputed by a number of different evaluators as some thought his glove wouldn’t be able to play at SS and he would never hit for enough power to play at a high level. Some saw his jack-of-all-trades type of skill set as being able to could develop as he continued on through the minors.

In MLB.com’s write-up for Gordon in 2014, they detailed him as having “...the actions and arm to stick at shortstop…” with...plus speed [that] plays well on the bases.” They go on to describe him as utilizing “...a solid left-handed swing and uses the whole field to hit.” His talent and ability was enough to land him at 37 on their top 100 prospect list that year.

For the first few years, Gordon held his own as he put up a modest 101 wRC+ in rookie ball in 2014 and a 104 mark in 2015 at Low-A. While certainly far from setting the world on fire, simply holding your own in the beginning of professional baseball is noteworthy in itself. Especially considering that Gordon had not yet hit 20-years-old after his 2015 season in Low-A.

Both 2016 and '17 helped Gordon’s prospect status a bit more as he bumped his wRC+ totals on the year up to 112 in 2016 at High A and 117 at AA, respectively. What was probably the most important development for Gordon was that he set a new career high for ISO (isolated power) in his 2017 season at AA as he finally broke through the .100 level and ended with a .139 mark on the season. While ISO is far from being an end-all, be-all statistic, there is a certain threshold that most hitters need to reach to be considered a quality batter in the day and age of power. Just four qualified hitters in 2019 in MLB held an ISO below .100 and the names near the bottom of the list don’t inspire much confidence at all, so Gordon adding some power seemed to be a big step forward for him.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2018 for Gordon’s baseball career. After destroying AA to start the year, Gordon was promoted to AAA where he hit for a paltry 52 wRC+ over 410 plate appearances. Around this time is the doubters spoke even louder and prospect evaluators quickly knocked Gordon down into a lower pool of players at the 40 FV level. Gordon was able to bounce back in 2019 at AAA as he hit for a 102 wRC+ with the highest ISO of his career but in a league where offense reigned supreme, these numbers were hardly eye-popping and the damage was already done to his prospect status.

Luis Arráez leapfrogged Gordon, and at the age of 22, he hit better at the major league level than Gordon did at AAA. Now with Arráez most likely penciled in at 2B for the future, Jorge Polanco locked in at SS for a number of years, and Miguel Sanó at 3B at least for the near future, the potential for any starting position for Gordon seems unlikely. Throw in that Royce Lewis will presumably make his debut soon and now Gordon is sitting on the outside looking in on a Twins team that has probably passed him by.

On Oct. 24, the day this article will go up, Gordon will celebrate his 24th birthday, but it could very well be his last one in the Twins’ system. Already armed with a full infield and with some glaring needs in the starting rotation, Gordon looks to be a potential trade chip over the offseason instead of the future infielder that we were promised years ago.

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49 Comments

I highly doubt he will ever make it to the majors. Another "can't miss prospect" that should have been dealt while he had value.

 

The best value the Twins can get from Gordon for next season is as a trading chip in a package towards a starting pitcher this offseason.  

 

We are talking about a guy who has fallen apart the second half of every single season as a pro.Counting on Gordon as a full time piece makes no sense if you want to compete.The Twins need pitching more than they need Gordon.

I watched him in rochester every game in 2019. After a disastrous AAA season in 2018 where his BA dropped consistently from June thru August....hitting a low of .205...he bounced back nicely in 2019. He hit .348 in July, with an OBP of .402 and OPS of .937. That is hardly falling apart. In fact he was gaining steam when he hit a foul off his ankle and that finished his season. His final BA was .298. He led the team in steals with 14 and he cut down on his k's. His 'd' was all over the place. From the spectacular plays that earned him standing 'O's' to booting routine grounders. A work in progress.

He was on the fast track until Arraez showed up. Twins may very well use him to get pitching, because at the moment his way is blocked. But if they hang on to him, he may eventually earn a spot. If he stays, I see him starting in rochester in 2020. We all figured he was going to be a bust after 2018, but not the case.

    • SQUIRREL, Steve Lein, brvama and 4 others like this
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RochesterDave
Oct 25 2019 07:51 PM
I also am a season ticket holder at Frontier Field in Rochester - and I concede Nick was much better in 2019 than the previous year. But I never saw him make a spectacular play in the field, and his hands/arm are not SS worthy. He was not a leader on the team and I would have much rather had Jake Cave, Astudillo (when there) , Zander Weil, Thomas Telis , Lamont Wade or even Drew Maggi up in a clutch situation. I see that we don’t agree on his future, but hope that you are right.

Trade value he'd bring back right now would likely not be worth it.

 

Need to keep him and see what happens. Hopefully he tears up AAA out of the gates and then we can sell higher or sell an MLB to make room.

 

Trading right now is selling low

    • Doctor Wu and In My La-Z-boy like this
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Kelly Vance
Oct 25 2019 11:11 PM

 

If I was a MLB FA pitcher and someone offered me a chance to pitch in front of the Twins IF, and frankly their catchers, I would have to give serious thought to the wisdom of that idea. Oh they can hit, but that is one awful looking IF. It's almost inconceivable that this orginisation cannot draft and develop a SS who doesn't need his offensive prowess to justify his playing that position?

and yet they won 101 games

    • Steve Lein, Thrylos, Major League Ready and 4 others like this

 

I highly doubt he will ever make it to the majors. Another "can't miss prospect" that should have been dealt while he had value.

 

I'll take that bet. Absent a career-ending injury in like spring training, Nick Gordon will make it to the majors. I don't know if he'll be good, great, or a bust but I'm pretty damn certain Nick Gordon plays in MLB. Frankly, he's very likely to play this season. If not for the untimely injury last season, he probably would have played for us last season in MLB.

    • Steve Lein, Danchat, DocBauer and 3 others like this

 

I also am a season ticket holder at Frontier Field in Rochester - and I concede Nick was much better in 2019 than the previous year. But I never saw him make a spectacular play in the field, and his hands/arm are not SS worthy. He was not a leader on the team and I would have much rather had Jake Cave, Astudillo (when there) , Zander Weil, Thomas Telis , Lamont Wade or even Drew Maggi up in a clutch situation. I see that we don’t agree on his future, but hope that you are right.

what section are you in Dave? I don't think his position is SS. It's 2nd base. He probably wasn't a 'leader' but he did make a few very nice plays...along with some nerve wracking errors on routine grounders I know. Based on the way he was coming on in July I was looking for a solid August. Was not to be. Wings had far too many k's in 2019 and Gordon was starting to cut down on his. A good sign. I think he remains valuable 'currency' as they say, in the organization.

PS--I don't know how you felt about Skinner, but I am not sad to see him go.

 

I think I remember Levine specifically stating that they thought his bat was MLB ready, but his glove was where they wanted to see more improvement.This was after his AA breakout in 2018.The glove and conditioning/health seem to be what's actually holding him back.

 

If defense is what you're looking for, Gordon appears to be a major downgrade from Adrianza.

 

Have the Phillies called up Aaron Nola yet? ... oh wait.

 

Is that Trea Turner hitting leadoff for the team that's up 2-0 in the WS?I need to go check my glasses to be sure.

 

Speaking of infield defense .... Matt Chapman sure looks good at the hot corner!

On the other hand, 47 out of 60 1st round and supplemental 1st rounders from 2012 have a lower career WAR than 12th rounder Taylor Rogers, including picks 5-10 overall. Works both ways.

 

Sure, the Twins aren't perfect, but neither are the other teams. 

 

And if you wanna pick on Gordon, how about #1 and #2 from that draft, Brady Aiken and Tyler Kopek? At least Gordon will likely make the majors, whereas neither of those guys made it past A ball.

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jorgenswest
Oct 27 2019 01:03 PM
The Twins need to get this assessment right. If they are confident in Gordon they player to sell high is Arraez.
    • Hosken Bombo Disco and Platoon like this

and yet they won 101 games

That they did. It's sort of a shame they couldn't have made it 104 games. Or maybe 103? Or even 102? They had a great offensive year, along with something like 20 other teams and the company that makes MLB baseballs. But that does not hide the fact that this isn't a good defensive baseball team. Those flaws were painfully exposed in the playoffs. Those deficiencies coupled with more or less the same level pitching, and one had better hope that the Bombas continue at a high level.
    • Mike Sixel and KGB like this

Gordon should commit himself to earning a utility infielder role with the Twins. That means he needs to get more experience playing 3B, improve his defense at both middle infielder positions, and like Arreaz he should look at being at least a primitive LF. 

 

This defensive flexibility would create value for him even if his bat disappoints a bit.

 

The Twins should also look at putting him in a trade package.I doubt his trade value alone is worth much at this time, but as a piece of a package he could bring the Twins in a quality bullpen arm.

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RochesterDave
Oct 27 2019 06:44 PM
what section are you in Dave? I don't think his position is SS. It's 2nd base. He probably wasn't a 'leader' but he did make a few very nice plays...along with some nerve wracking errors on routine grounders I know. Based on the way he was coming on in July I was looking for a solid August. Was not to be. Wings had far too many k's in 2019 and Gordon was starting to cut down on his. A good sign. I think he remains valuable 'currency' as they say, in the organization.
PS--I don't know how you felt about Skinner, but I am not sad to see him go.

I couldn’t agree more about Skinner being let go as the Red Wings manager. He was unenthusiastic and never seemed to argue about questionable ump calls. In terms of this Nick Gordon discussion, I hope he has a great start to 2020 and he’s packaged come trade time . He’s not a hustler and in terms of Twins fans - he’s the anti-Nick Punto. I think next years Red Wings team should be the most entertain years as I expect to see Lewis, Kiriloff and Larnach sooner than later. As an aside, I hated to see Jaylin Davis traded - he was their best player by far this year and they desperately need a RH hitting outfielder. I am in Section 120, between home and the visitors dugout.

Gordon was a fantastic high school player who hit .505 and pitched to a 0.78 ERA over 35 2/3 innings in his last year of high school baseball.

 

Is it too late for him to resurrect those dormant pitching skills?

 

what section are you in Dave? I don't think his position is SS. It's 2nd base. He probably wasn't a 'leader' but he did make a few very nice plays...along with some nerve wracking errors on routine grounders I know. Based on the way he was coming on in July I was looking for a solid August. Was not to be. Wings had far too many k's in 2019 and Gordon was starting to cut down on his. A good sign. I think he remains valuable 'currency' as they say, in the organization.
PS--I don't know how you felt about Skinner, but I am not sad to see him go.

I couldn’t agree more about Skinner being let go as the Red Wings manager. He was unenthusiastic and never seemed to argue about questionable ump calls. In terms of this Nick Gordon discussion, I hope he has a great start to 2020 and he’s packaged come trade time . He’s not a hustler and in terms of Twins fans - he’s the anti-Nick Punto. I think next years Red Wings team should be the most entertain years as I expect to see Lewis, Kiriloff and Larnach sooner than later. As an aside, I hated to see Jaylin Davis traded - he was their best player by far this year and they desperately need a RH hitting outfielder. I am in Section 120, between home and the visitors dugout.

I'm in 209, first row right over the ramp between home and 1st. Trading Davis was a dagger to the heart of Red Wings fans. I so remember the game where we needed to get a runner in scoring position and the struggling Davis was up. All of us were screaming...bunt...don't strike out. He then hit his 1st HR. We all just stared at each other! Rest as they say is history. I doubt Twins will ever get value from that trade.

After Mike Quade, Skinner was a cardboard cutout. Even our venerable Bob Matthews said he was 'boring'. That was being kind.

10 years from now Gordon will be playing somewhere in the major leagues. DNA tells us so.Lets hope the Twins get something of value for him.:)

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sampleSizeOfOne
Feb 18 2020 10:46 AM
I figured i would check in here, missing Nick Gordan's name on the Twin's daily prospect list (with #1 still to be revealed, so maybe that is him)

Has he recovered from his injury, or otherwise been traded and i didn't notice? Or is everyone just more excited about other prospects these days?
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South Dakota Tom
Feb 18 2020 12:31 PM

 

 

I figured i would check in here, missing Nick Gordan's name on the Twin's daily prospect list (with #1 still to be revealed, so maybe that is him)

Has he recovered from his injury, or otherwise been traded and i didn't notice? Or is everyone just more excited about other prospects these days?

He was an honorable mention in the top 20 list, and he's definitely not our #1 prospect any longer.That being said, there was a lot of chatter about trading him (either solely or in a package) for some relief or starting pitching.  I agree with the posters who suggest we'd be selling low on him at this time (though his abbreviated 2019 season looks pretty good to me).  I see his future as a utility guy right now (in our organization, I should add); when Marwin is gone after 2020 then it will be down to him and Ehire, and Nick is under control for cheaper, longer.Sure there are also other candidates for that, but I would have him play some corner OF this year - if something happens to Adrianza or Marwin (assuming Jake Cave is also on the 26-man) much less to Polanco or Arraez, I think he is the call.

 

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Doctor Gast
Feb 18 2020 01:31 PM

 

Gordon was a fantastic high school player who hit .505 and pitched to a 0.78 ERA over 35 2/3 innings in his last year of high school baseball.

 

Is it too late for him to resurrect those dormant pitching skills?

 WOW! Gordon had great #s. I can see why they drafted him high. Yet again I see Lewis passing him up as a super utility in ML. I see Gordon improving this year at AAA but I don`t see him adjusting quickly to the ML. I believe he`ll make it to the bigs but not w/ MN. He should be traded at the deadline for a high rated pitcher hopefully having raised his stock.

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sampleSizeOfOne
Feb 18 2020 01:42 PM

He was an honorable mention in the top 20 list...


Ah yes, i missed the honorable mention when perusing it before posting above. Thanks for pointing him out in there. My bad.

I am glad he is still there and comes back from the injury. And i hope all the prospects play well enough to make the Twins FO have difficult decisions to make.

I said over 2 years ago that Gordon would never make i to the majors. This is his last year to make a giant leap forward or be done.

For Gordon with the Twins, I think he'd be the guy called up if there was an injury in the middle infield early in the season. In other words, it is about opportunity for him with the Twins right now. 

 

He had a nice 2019 season when he was healthy. Unfortunately, he missed a month at the start and probably 6 weeks or so at the end. Lots of doubles.

 

For many organizations, he would be in the big leagues by now if healthy. 

What is his trade value though? He has been fading from the prospect lists, Fangraphs moved him all the way down to 35th in our system. They could include him as a supplementing piece of a bigger package or trade him for another fringe prospect at a different position that isn't as blocked.

 

Naw, they have Ehire for that. I think he gets moved this off season with a couple of other prospectsfor pitching 

Adrianza and Gonzalez are set to be Free Agents after this season. Gordon could have a shot in the utility player(s) competition for 2021.

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South Dakota Tom
Feb 18 2020 02:46 PM

 

 WOW! Gordon had great #s. I can see why they drafted him high. Yet again I see Lewis passing him up as a super utility in ML. I see Gordon improving this year at AAA but I don`t see him adjusting quickly to the ML. I believe he`ll make it to the bigs but not w/ MN. He should be traded at the deadline for a high rated pitcher hopefully having raised his stock.

Royce Lewis is not going to be a utility player in MLB; he will play minor league ball until a full-time spot opens up for him (or he creates his own full-time spot by his play).  When I suggested that others are in the competition, his was not one of the names I think Gordon is competing with.


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