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Article: Twins Daily Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 03:30 PM

Nick Gordon might be one of the most polarizing prospects in the Minnesota Twins system. All of the national prospect rankings have him in their top-100 lists but he comes in all over the board. Two of the rankings have him at 80 or lower. Meanwhile, two other rankings have him in the top-40.

Gordon hit very well in the season’s first half but he struggled in the closing months of the year. Earlier this off-season, Tom wondered if Gordon’s second half turned him from a prospect to a suspect. When it comes to Twins’ prospects, Gordon is still one of the best in the organization but why are there such differing opinions on the former first round pick?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
ETA: 2019
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.

What’s Next
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.

TD Top Prospects: 16-20
TD Top Prospects: 11-15
TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil Baddoo
TD Top Prospect: #9 Brusdar Graterol
TD Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow
TD Top Prospects: #7 Brent Rooker
TD Top Prospects: #6 Wander Javier
TD Top Prospects: #5 Alex Kirilloff
TD Top Prospects: #4 Stephen Gonsalves
TD Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon
TD Top Prospects: #2 Coming Soon...

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Cody Christie
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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 03:36 PM

Too high for me if all the reports can be believed.It would seem that even within our organization and with one short stop traded for Odorizzi, he number three in the minor league SS depth chart behind Lewis and Wander Javier.I suspect he is closer to the majors right now, but will be passed this year.If I am wrong I will not be bothered, but for rankings I would move him back some.

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#3 caninatl04

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 03:38 PM

I’m sure they can find a right hand hitting utility infielder to spell him if need be. So will he be a #2 hitter or a #8?

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:38 PM

Just based on proximity to the majors, I think I probably have him ahead of Lewis (although Lewis' upside is much higher). In some ways, Gordon is a blah prospect. He doesn't do anything elite but he does enough of everything that I think he'll end up a strong starting shortstop for several years. If Polanco turns back into a pumpkin, Gordon will take over and play well, I think.

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#5 Thrylos

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:46 PM

At this point Gordon's floor is Ehire Adrianza/Pedro Florimon without the glove and in a platoon situation. Unfortunately I am not convinced that his ceiling is higher than a (let's say) Steve Lombardozzi.

Having him at number 3 over players with both higher floor and ceiling makes zero sense.
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#6 Mike Sixel

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 05:00 PM

I doubt Lombardozzi was ever a top prospect in all of baseball......i will never understand the people that are so sure this guy will fall.
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#7 Thrylos

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 05:21 PM

 

I doubt Lombardozzi was ever a top prospect in all of baseball......i will never understand the people that are so sure this guy will fall.

 

Lombardozzi was the Twins' 10th best prospect according to BA in 1983 ,and their 3rd best in 1986 (same link).Gordon was their 8th this season. More similarities among the 2 than you may think...

 

Edited by Thrylos, 18 February 2018 - 05:37 PM.

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#8 birdwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 06:44 PM

 

Lombardozzi was the Twins' 10th best prospect according to BA in 1983 ,and their 3rd best in 1986 (same link).Gordon was their 8th this season. More similarities among the 2 than you may think...

 

There are fewer similarities between the two than you're suggesting. First off, those rankings really tell you nothing unless you view it within the context of who else was ranked. I'd guess that we'd get universal consensus that Gordon is in a whole lot better company than Lombo was, as he was one of only two prospects from that'86 ranking, along with Alan Anderson, to have any semblance of a MLB career.

 

Personally, I can't think of a single thing about the two that invites comparison. Not skiils, not industry regard, really nothing. I watched Lombo play almost every game during his career year. He was by far the worst position player on the field in most games. There's a reason his career fizzled out very quickly. He languished as a mediocre utility man for the better part of his career.

 

Whether it's at 2nd or SS, most evaluators envision Gordon overcoming his current shortcomings with more seasoning and having a nice long career as a starter. You've been the low man on Gordon for some time, and vocal about it. Are you sure there's objectivity in play regarding your opinion? I mean, other than his choice of a shirt in a video of course.;)

Edited by birdwatcher, 18 February 2018 - 06:58 PM.

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#9 Thrylos

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 06:52 PM

 

 

Are you sure there's objectivity in play regarding your opinion?

 

Every opinion by definition, including those of the ones who are high on Gordon, is subjective.

And I am not the only one.Check out Berardino's rating at the BA this offseason

Edited by Thrylos, 18 February 2018 - 06:53 PM.

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#10 birdwatcher

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 07:39 PM

Well, of course. I read the BA rankings for 2018, and the write-ups on Gordon from all the other talent experts too. None of the experts would think that invoking the names of Florimon, Lombardozzi, or Adrianza when describing Gordon's prospects makes a lick of sense, I'm quite positive about that.

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#11 Mike Sixel

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 07:56 PM

Lombardozzi was the Twins' 10th best prospect according to BA in 1983 ,and their 3rd best in 1986 (same link).Gordon was their 8th this season. More similarities among the 2 than you may think...


I don't think everyone had Gordon 8th, given he is in the top 100 on at least two lists. It's really not that hard to find that data on line.
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#12 clutterheart

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 08:06 PM

Gordon's bat is a bit worriesome. And if his lack of skill at SS moves him to 2B I can't seem him being an everyday player.

But his choice to wear a Tigers uni while pursuing a music hobby should play no part in any evaluation of his ability.
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#13 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 11:23 PM

 

Every opinion by definition, including those of the ones who are high on Gordon, is subjective.

And I am not the only one.Check out Berardino's rating at the BA this offseason

Which part? The part where BA graded him as a 50 with only medium risk?The part where he is graded out at a 50 hit tool, 45 power, 50 speed, 50 fielding, an 55 arm?  

 

If you listened to the BA Twins podcast breakdown you'll hear where they say he very well could be #2 prospect depending on how you want to look at it (ceiling vs risk).In fact they said anyone #2-8 could be easily interchanged.BA states Gordon's 50 grade with medium risk is equivalant to Wander Javier being a 60 grade with extreme risk. Just a little FYI

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#14 Doctor Wu

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 07:57 AM

 

At this point Gordon's floor is Ehire Adrianza/Pedro Florimon without the glove and in a platoon situation.Unfortunately I am not convinced that his ceiling is higher than a (let's say) Steve Lombardozzi.

Ouch! That may be a bit harsh! I go back and forth on Gordon's potential, and whether or not he is overrated,. But I still have hope that he's going to be a solid, maybe above average, starter for the major league team in the next year or two. This is going to be another key year for him to show what he's got. Just gotta be patient and remember that he's still a bit young.

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#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:42 AM

Our rankings:

 

Seth (4), Nick (6), Cody (2), Tom (3)


#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:47 AM

 

I don't think everyone had Gordon 8th, given he is in the top 100 on at least two lists. It's really not that hard to find that data on line.

 

Including Baseball America... While Berardino ranked him eighth, I think that their Top 100 had him at 3 or so.


#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:57 AM

Add to that the (let's call it mildly) bad decision making process that had him wear a Detroit Tigers outfit in one of this music videos

Tigers? I haven't seen all his videos, but the one that was brought to our attention in another thread had him in a Mariner's jersey (I didn't recognize the meaning of any of his other attire). His brother Dee just signed a big contract with the M's. It's hard to find something sinister about idolizing one's big brother. This seems like a tangent worth dropping, in a thread about a player's ranking.

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A slim chance equals a fat chance, yet a wise man and a wise guy are opposites.


#18 Thrylos

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 09:03 AM

Tigers? I haven't seen all his videos, but the one that was brought to our attention in another thread had him in a Mariner's jersey (I didn't recognize the meaning of any of his other attire). His brother Dee just signed a big contract with the M's. It's hard to find something sinister about idolizing one's big brother. This seems like a tangent worth dropping, in a thread about a player's ranking.


That was his brother's jersey. I have less problem with that because it was his brother's, but if you are a professional player for a team is a bit tacky (to say the least) to wear another team's in the same sport jersey.
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#19 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 09:04 AM

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.

He's one of those uncommon players who has played full-time at each level followed by a promotion each time. And weak second-half or not, his season stats in 2017 were his best yet. The same logic they used in prior years would suggest AAA. What good will another hot start at AA do him, anyway? Observers, both professional and just us fans, would still say, wait, we don't know if he will fade. I would just bump him to Rochester and see how he does. If the questions are more about his glove, he won't learn more in AA than AAA on that aspect of his game. And he's so young, a bad 2018 at AAA still wouldn't mean very much for his long-term chances.

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#20 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 09:09 AM

It's hard not to look at his profile and see things to like and things to not like.But he's advancing well and young for his level, so I think this is about right.

 

He's not particularly valuable right now though, so I hope they don't deal him right now unless he is over-valued by their trade partner.

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