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Article: Did Nick Gordon’s Second Half Turn Him From Prospect to Suspect?

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#21 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:10 PM

I'm not going to get too excited about any Twins'prospect until that prospect is a consensus top 25 in national rankings. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy reading about the Twins' prospects, and I wish them all well...but until then, I have my doubts about their chances of being real difference makers in the major leagues.

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#22 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:21 PM

 

Bernadino is a pretty poor reporter, in my opinion.His articles are mostly rehash of what others have said either nationally or in other local publications.He rarely breaks Twins news and I highly doubt he has the pedigree to be judging prospects and compiling a ranking. I tend to take what he says with a grain of salt.With that said, the BA rankings clearly stated that they were based on ceiling.Gordon is probably a major league player with the ability to show flashes, but won't be THE guy in a lineup or team.Hopefully he turns into a solid second baseman and helps the Twins win baseball games, but he was never a guy that I was hanging my hat on that he'd be a major contributor the way I looked at Sano, Buxton, Kepler, and Rosario.At the end of the day, the rankings are just that; they don't really mean anything until the players begin to produce.

I appreciate and enjoy Berndino's writing. After all, he is a UNC Journalism School graduate.


#23 Steve Lein

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:40 PM

For what it's worth, my immediate takeaway from Royce Lewis being pegged as the "best defensive infielder" gives me major pause.

 

I hope he proves me wrong, but I don't think he makes it to the majors as an infielder and I don't know how anyone could slot him in that position at this point. You think there's questions about Gordon's defense? Those questions should be far bigger on Lewis right now.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#24 Steve Lein

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:49 PM

Furthermore, I don't think Gordon's second half makes him a suspect.

 

Chattanooga had a stacked lineup this year if you ask me, his ranks:

 

Doubles: 2nd (6th in southern league)

Triples: 1st (1st in southern league)

HRs: 4th

RBI: 3rd (8th in southern league)

Total Bases: 2nd (4th in southern league)

Walks: 3rd (13th in southern league)

SB's: 1st

 

Think of it this way: If he had compiled those numbers without the drastic 1st and 2nd half splits, would you still contemplate calling him "suspect"?

 

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#25 jkcarew

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:57 PM

My glass is half-full today. While I feel that Gordon earned a slip down the rankings, pretty much everyone's top 10 makes me feel a little better than where we were a year ago.

 

I feel that if Gordon isn't a short-stop, I'd rank Luis Arraez ahead of him.But we'll see.Maybe he is a short-stop.

 

If a list is slanted toward up-side, I'm mildly surprised Akil Baddoo doesn't crack the top 10.Regardless, I'm mildly optimistic that I can think of other names that are not even on this list that I feel have a very good chance of being useful down the road as either trade material or for the major league club.Jermaine Palacios is another name that comes to mind in that regard. 

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#26 DocBauer

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:58 PM

I think Gordon is too low at 8, but we're splitting some pretty fine hairs here debating a couple of spots on a top 10 list. There's a few guys loaded with potential that aren't even in the top 10 here.

I think his poor second half downgraded him somewhat. But young, talented and improving overall, he could be right back in the top 3-5 This time next year.

Defense is highly important, but error numbers, by themselves, don't trouble me. You can randomly look up error totals for a myriad of highly successful ML infielders, past and present, and you would be surprised by some of the error totals you would see while in the minors.
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#27 Deduno Abides

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:25 PM

I’m confused by this discussion of ceiling and floor, as I am generally.

“Ceiling,” as I understand stand it, is what used to be called potential and basically reflects what a player could do, if he matures physically, sharpens his skills and improves his consistency. Gordon’s first half in AA was outstanding. For about three months, which is more than pure SSS, he may have been the best hitter in the Southern League, while being about three years younger than everyone else. That seems like outstanding potential and, if he had gotten injured at that time, the current conversation about Gordon would all be about how exciting his future will be. Similarly, if he flipped his season halves, everyone would be talking about how he put it together and is ready for stardom. Instead, humans suffer from recency bias and give extra attention to negative, so people are saying how limited he is.

Sure, Gordon’s second half raises items that he needs to work on, like just about every other player who’s ever been in AA, and he could truly become just a so-so player (which is what I was expecting through spring training last year), but it doesn’t negate his outstanding first half, which suggested that he could have a great ceiling.

P.S. It wouldn’t surprise me if Levine wants to get rid of most of the Ryan era draftees, or at least cuts them less slack. It would be human nature. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Berardino is plugged into management thinking - he may understand their analytical leanings better than most of the other press in town, which is more old school. That doesn’t mean the FO gives explicit guidance or leaks to Berardino, but it could mean that his ratings may reflect his reading of tea leaves.
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#28 Taildragger8791

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:34 PM

 

Furthermore, I don't think Gordon's second half makes him a suspect.

 

Chattanooga had a stacked lineup this year if you ask me, his ranks:

 

Doubles: 2nd (6th in southern league)

Triples: 1st (1st in southern league)

HRs: 4th

RBI: 3rd (8th in southern league)

Total Bases: 2nd (4th in southern league)

Walks: 3rd (13th in southern league)

SB's: 1st

 

Think of it this way: If he had compiled those numbers without the drastic 1st and 2nd half splits, would you still contemplate calling him "suspect"?

 

To be fair, when a prospect plays a full season at one level they tend to end up near the top of the lists in counting stats. He led the Southern League in plate appearances and had nearly 100 more ABs then his next closest teammate.

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#29 Taildragger8791

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:42 PM

 

For what it's worth, my immediate takeaway from Royce Lewis being pegged as the "best defensive infielder" gives me major pause.

 

I hope he proves me wrong, but I don't think he makes it to the majors as an infielder and I don't know how anyone could slot him in that position at this point. You think there's questions about Gordon's defense? Those questions should be far bigger on Lewis right now.

 

I understand the concern, but Royce is far to inexperienced and raw at SS to really get a feel for his projection right now. He only played one year in the hole in high school, didn't he? With his athleticism to fall back on he probably didn't even learn the fundamentals of the position. This next year should hopefully give us a much better read on his infield ability.

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#30 drivlikejehu

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:21 PM

 

P.S. It wouldn’t surprise me if Levine wants to get rid of most of the Ryan era draftees, or at least cuts them less slack. It would be human nature. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Berardino is plugged into management thinking - he may understand their analytical leanings better than most of the other press in town, which is more old school. That doesn’t mean the FO gives explicit guidance or leaks to Berardino, but it could mean that his ratings may reflect his reading of tea leaves.

 

I don't understand what aspect of "human nature" would cause Levine to want to get rid of Ryan-era draftees. Wouldn't that mean they want to get rid of Buxton, Berrios, etc.? The players don't really have a personal connection to the previous leadership, so I think there's zero chance Falvey or Levine will treat prospects differently based on who drafted them.

 

Of course, they may evaluate players differently, but that could work in either direction.

 

I agree with the rest of your post, but that part was way off base.

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#31 Steve Lein

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:36 PM

 

To be fair, when a prospect plays a full season at one level they tend to end up near the top of the lists in counting stats. He led the Southern League in plate appearances and had nearly 100 more ABs then his next closest teammate.

 

I get this from a team perspective, and it's fair. 

 

In the league sense though I don't buy it, and is why I included those rankings. He was a leadoff man so of course he's getting more plate appearances than most.

 

I'll single out the Total Bases. Of the top 40 in the southern league last year, only 4 players played fewer than 100 games. In the top 16 nobody had fewer than 119. 

 

Of the guys that "played [the] full season at one level" he is a standout in a lot of categories. It doesn't matter that they are the "counting stats" in this view (at least to me :))

 

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#32 Deduno Abides

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:39 PM

I don't understand what aspect of "human nature" would cause Levine to want to get rid of Ryan-era draftees. Wouldn't that mean they want to get rid of Buxton, Berrios, etc.? The players don't really have a personal connection to the previous leadership, so I think there's zero chance Falvey or Levine will treat prospects differently based on who drafted them.

Of course, they may evaluate players differently, but that could work in either direction.

I agree with the rest of your post, but that part was way off base.

People do it all the time. A new boss comes in and clears out the old team, especially people that were particularly identified with the old boss. It’s not personal, it’s often not fully logical, but it’s just human nature, i.e., the new boss doesn’t even know why he rates the old team so low.

Edited by Deduno Abides, 11 January 2018 - 04:40 PM.

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#33 Dantes929

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 05:46 PM

Glass is half full and half empty.Its up to Gordon to move the needle.If he ends up being league average that is ok with me. League average is underrated.For example if we hadleague average at 7 spots in the lineup but Buxton and Dozier were exceptional we would have well above average lineup.I am still not sure what Gordon offers that Polanco does not.

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#34 drivlikejehu

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:11 PM

 

People do it all the time. A new boss comes in and clears out the old team, especially people that were particularly identified with the old boss. It’s not personal, it’s often not fully logical, but it’s just human nature, i.e., the new boss doesn’t even know why he rates the old team so low.

 

This is completely different - your analogy works with the front office, but not with the players, especially not minor leaguers. What you're saying is more akin to a new plant manager throwing out his production equipment because it was already there when he arrived. Zero chance this is a thing for the Twins.

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#35 The Wise One

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:26 PM

 

People do it all the time. A new boss comes in and clears out the old team, especially people that were particularly identified with the old boss. It’s not personal, it’s often not fully logical, but it’s just human nature, i.e., the new boss doesn’t even know why he rates the old team so low.

Name 1 baseball team that turned over most of their organization in 2-3 years with a change of leadership


#36 Deduno Abides

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:40 PM

Name 1 baseball team that turned over most of their organization in 2-3 years with a change of leadership

If you’re willing to change “most” to “a bunch,” I’d start the list with the Astros, Cubs and Dodgers. Management almost always tries to bring in its own guys, e.g., Giminez, Napoli and Darvish at the major league level. In football, Bill Parcells was the epitome of this change.

Regardless, we’re getting a little off topic. I propose that new management sometimes subconsciously rates some of its players ahead of some of the players it inherited, and that such a psychology may affect internal ratings of Gordon. If other TD participants think that never happens in any organization and didn’t happen here, OK.

Edited by Deduno Abides, 11 January 2018 - 07:41 PM.

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#37 Thrylos

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:54 PM

In my 2017 Twins' top 60 prospects' list, I had Gordon listed at number 5, up from number 9 the season before.And here is what I wrote specifically about him (link here) : 

 

ETA: 2018

Nick Gordon was drafted by the Twins as the 5th overall player in the 2014 draft from Olympia High School in Orlando, FL. He started his pro career in 2014 playing for Elizabethton hitting .294/.333/.366 (101 wRC+) with 11 BB and 45 K (17.6 %), and 11/18 SB (61%).In 2015 for Cedar Rapids, he hit .277/.336/.360 (104 wRC+) with 39 BB and 88 K (16.5 %), 25/33 SB (76%).There was incremental improvement on the base paths, but in general similar results.At this point he exhibited some gap power (23 doubles, 7 triples and 1 HRs in 535 PAs, 0.083 isoP), but it does get neutralized against LHPs (.264/.325/.291; only extra base hits were 3 doubles in 110 PAs against LHPs.)He started the 2016 season in Fort Myers, where he made a leap forward hitting .291/.335/.386 (112 wRC+) in 116 games (493 PAs), with 17,6 K% and 0.095 isoP, stealing 19/32 bases.His BABIP (.353) was close to his .333 and .352 of the previous 2 seasons, which means that a BABIP around .350s is not out of question.He continued in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit a very impressive .346/.418/.444 (144 wRC+) in 21 games (91 PA), but inflated due to an unsustainable .475 BABIP.

 

Gordon's glove is about average at SS, and he projects to stay in the position.His bat still projects as a major league average, however he was again neutralized against LHPs (.220/.276/.254 in 118 AB in Fort Myers last season.) He had good speed, but not great base stealing instincts that need a lot of work.His season at Fort Myers and his success in Arizona are promising, but the ones who were hoping for a star with the 5th overall pick would be disappointed at Gordon, because he does not project as one. Gordon is a non-roster invitee in the Twins Spring Traning, but not MLB-ready at this point.

Likely 2017 path: Starting AA Chattanooga shortstop

 

This season he was worse against LHPs (.174/.273/.240), had concentration lapses on the field, the range issues continued at SS.This off-season instead of trying to address his weaknesses and becoming a better ballplayer, he started making music, so his priorities are not the way they should be with a "top prospect".And talking about a guy who never bettered a .749 OPS in the minors.

 

Have not finished my 2018 prospect list yet, but methinks that Mike was generous with Nick Gordon in the BA list.

 

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#38 drivlikejehu

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:58 PM

Regardless, we’re getting a little off topic. I propose that new management sometimes subconsciously rates some of its players ahead of some of the players it inherited, and that such a psychology may affect internal ratings of Gordon. If other TD participants think that never happens in any organization and didn’t happen here, OK.

 

 

You seem to think that the front office views prospects as their subordinates, which simply isn't the case. There is no connection at all to a typical office environment (except of course within the front office itself). Though there is a human element involved at some level, to Falvey and Levine prospects are basically just assets. They couldn't care less about who brought them into the org. Whether you believe it or not, that's unquestionably the way it is.

Edited by drivlikejehu, 11 January 2018 - 08:01 PM.

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#39 Deduno Abides

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:30 PM

You seem to think that the front office views prospects as their subordinates, which simply isn't the case. There is no connection at all to a typical office environment (except of course within the front office itself). Though there is a human element involved at some level, to Falvey and Levine prospects are basically just assets. They couldn't care less about who brought them into the org. Whether you believe it or not, that's unquestionably the way it is.

Hey man, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I think the sports internet would blow up if any executive ever said anything like he considers all prospects as “basically just assets.”

Also, we’re off-topic, so I’m going to self-moderate and not discuss this issue further. You can post more if you want, but if you’d like to discuss it more start another thread. Thanks.
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#40 kab21

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:39 PM

The question I posed during the season when he was HOT (and he was really hot) and basically an untouchable prospect was if he was actually that good (SSS). Weren't his K rates, BAPIP and L/R splits warning signs in the 1st half? I don't have his full 1st/2nd half splits but I remember there being warning signs.

 

I think the question should be 'Did Gordon's 1st half lead many to overrate him?'

 

No doubt he is a good prospect and a better one than a year ago. I would also probably bump him up a few places on a Twins prospect list but I think he became very overrated at midseason. Many considered him untouchable for Sonny Gray for example. That (say Gordon and Gonsalves) would be considered a great trade now.

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