Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Clutch Gordon, Baseball Superstar


This has been one of the most fun things to follow that doesn't involve Joe Ryan's hair. Nick Gordon has suddenly become... a good baseball player? I mean, we all knew it wasn't technically impossible for this to happen given how much time he missed over the past couple of years but it's still unexpected.

His OPS+ now sits at 97, which I definitely didn't see coming. He's still a flawed player; he's not great up the middle, his plate discipline isn't great, and he misses the ball too much for a player with his profile... but if he can hit somewhere close to league average while playing (sometimes kinda badly) around the entire diamond, I think he's basically a lock for making the 2022 roster as a tenth man. Which is an upgrade because my hope was that Gordon could become the eleventh man, which is far less of a sure thing on modern rosters.

But hey, something good happening at the end of this crap season is still fun to watch!

Gordon's splits:

Season Totals
Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
2021 Totals 65 46 189 175 18 46 9 1 4 21 10 1 11 48 .263 .317 .394 .712 69 6 3 0 0 0 2 .341 100 96
Last 7 days 5 5 20 19 3 9 2 0 2 8 2 0 0 4 .474 .500 .895 1.395 17 0 1 0 0 0 1 .538 285 271
Last 14 days 11 9 35 32 4 12 2 0 3 10 4 0 2 8 .375 .429 .719 1.147 23 0 1 0 0 0 1 .429 218 202
Last 28 days 19 14 56 52 5 17 4 0 3 13 5 0 3 13 .327 .375 .577 .952 30 1 1 0 0 0 2 .389 165 155
Last 365 days 65 46 189 175 18 46 9 1 4 21 10 1 11 48 .263 .317 .394 .712 69 6 3 0 0 0 2 .341 100  
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/24/2021.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

8 minutes ago, Mortimerkenny21 said:

Didn't someone post this same topic a couple of weeks ago suggesting Gordon was "clutch" and caught a ton of flack for it? Maybe not such a crazy idea eh?

Eh, I'm very much using "clutch" tongue in cheek here. Very few players - and I mean very few - can sustain any kind of elevated performance in close situations. Gwynn and Mauer were two, for example, just so you have a baseline of the talent level I'm talking about when I say "very few". Generational hitting talents with Hall of Fame careers can occasionally do it. Most of the rest of baseball, not so much.

Whether Gordon continues to be unsustainably clutch or not, he's playing quite well overall, which is what I'm really interested in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah at one time I thought the Twins might just trade or DFA him.  When he dipped down into the 600 OPS range it was getting hard to see him being a part of the future but right now he looks like a very versatile 10th man.  He has the speed to play center, right and left field.  He can play short maybe not as well as the Twins would like but he can play there and he can play 2nd and third.  He can play virtually any position except catcher and likely be around an average defender there.  Heck if you need him to pitch he can probably do that as well as I believe he pitched in HS.

With the recent pop in the hit tool and general good contact he makes he could develop into an Arraez light bat who runs better and has position flexibility.  He needs to keep hitting but if he can hang in the 700 OPS range and play anywhere on the field there is a ton of value there.  Personally I think he replaces the Turtle next year on the 40 man but we will see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He could be a very useful bench player. I don’t think he holds up over a full season. I’ve read too many first hand reports including from ashbury which I unfortunately did not bookmark.. Nothing against the guy personally and like I said, maybe a good bench player, in the ways lineups used to be mostly fixed and players had roles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Playing up the middle, being passable at SS and CF really helps Gordon's cause vs Astudillo who has a similar hit tools but can only play the corners, and Arraez who has a superior bat to both Turtle and Gordon but is best at 2nd and 3rd with a poor LF option. 

I agree w/ Dman, "Mr Clutch" should supplant Tortuga next year

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gordon is improving in all phases of the game as he gains experience. The Twins need to have athletic players like Gordon as a part of their roster. He has certainly improved his stock as far as making himself part of the conversation for next season. Nick Gordon's development also provides some depth should the Twins trade an infielder or outfielder. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

I’ll make the Danny Santana comp here.

There is definitely a SSS issue with proclaiming Gordon a competent hitter but a Danny Santana comp doesn't really work here. Santana had that breakout season on the back of a .400+ BABIP, which many people brought up time and time again when others would expect sustained performance from Danny.

Where Santana had a .400+ BABIP, Gordon's is a quite reasonable .341 right now. That's entirely sustainable, if a touch on the high side for a guy with his contact tool. But it's not stratospheric like Santana's was at the time.

On the other hand, Gordon's wOBA is .310 right now... and his expected wOBA is .316. Those are closely aligned and don't show a lot of luck, either good or bad, involved in this situation. What we're seeing is both sustainable and real, now it's a matter of Gordon continuing to do it... which, of course, is far from a sure thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always felt Gordon had this level of potential performance in him (.712 OPS) and I felt he had room to add quite a bit of power if he was able to manage his digestive issues and regain weight/strength he'd lost; however, potential and absolute expectations are different things. I don't know as anybody "expected" Nick Gordon to be putting up numbers suggesting he could be a legit starting shortstop, provided the Twins actually play him there at a position where they have utterly absolutely completely nobody in the system they'd plan to start there next year, and I've been pleasantly surprised at the early indications of Gordon's performance in CF.

I don't think the Twins have utilized him properly by sticking him at shortstop to see what they had and I think the criticisms about how the front office was handling Gordon have more merit now. That said, Gordon may have needed the instruction and just calendar day time to let the game slow down enough for him to start doing what he's doing now. Who knows? If the Twins had thrown him to the wolves, it's possible he could have been nearly as bad at the plate as Andrelton Simmons...

Honestly, I'm just really happy for Nick Gordon a lot more than my own little hack amatuer analyst ego. It seems like people really like him personally and he's gone through hell physically over the past few years. Going into the locker room with a big grin and a sense of pride is a hell of a way to wind down his season. I just don't see any way the Twins can leave him off the 40 man at this point. He'd be scooped in an instant... and if by some chance another team were to get him to play legit shortstop, while hitting around wRC+ 100, the front office would have about a dozen eggs on their face.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

I don't think the Twins have utilized him properly by sticking him at shortstop to see what they had and I think the criticisms about how the front office was handling Gordon have more merit now.

I don't really understand this criticism of the front office, frankly. Since Falvine took over in 2017, they have film/coaches/eyeballs on Gordon playing shortstop in 361 (!!!!!!!!) minor league games and nine more games in a Twins uniform.

Why do people believe they have no evidence whether he can or cannot play shortstop in Minnesota?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Brock Beauchamp said:

I don't really understand this criticism of the front office, frankly. Since Falvine took over in 2017, they have film/coaches/eyeballs on Gordon playing shortstop in 361 (!!!!!!!!) minor league games and nine more games in a Twins uniform.

Why do people believe they have no evidence whether he can or cannot play shortstop in Minnesota?

For me, it's not criticism of them mishandling Gordon exactly. It's them mishandling their situation. They've got utterly nothing for 2022 at shortstop. Simmons is below average at SS this year because of da-da-da-daaaaaaa error rate and his OPS is south of .600. The very same issue Gordon has shown. Is it really so harmful to see him at the MLB level? Exactly what do the Twins lose? It's low risk with a potentially (if unlikely) high reward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

For me, it's not criticism of them mishandling Gordon exactly. It's them mishandling their situation. They've got utterly nothing for 2022 at shortstop. Simmons is below average at SS this year because of da-da-da-daaaaaaa error rate and his OPS is south of .600. The very same issue Gordon has shown. Is it really so harmful to see him at the MLB level? Exactly what do the Twins lose? It's low risk with a potentially (if unlikely) high reward.

It's not really a low risk situation in a rotation with Jax, Ober, and Ryan in it. While I agree that I'd personally have played Gordon more at short, I also haven't watched him play there over 350 times already. They have and while I'm free to disagree with them about the frequency at which he plays, I'm also coming from a place of relative ignorance on the matter.

Which makes it pretty hard for me to argue that they've mismanaged anything. 

As for shortstop and 2022, they need to fill that role and if they don't view Gordon as an option, that means they need to look outside the organization. That's not uncommon and this is a good offseason to be shortstop-shopping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flash Gordon , I like his speed, and his bat, hope he can become a good fielder; Gordon can hit left hand pitching Arraez cannot , Gordon will be here after Arraez is gone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

It's not really a low risk situation in a rotation with Jax, Ober, and Ryan in it...

Simmons is already average-ish (a little below) because of error rate. How bad could Gordon realistically be? If we were to use Gordon's .960 fielding percentage vs. Simmons' .974 this year, Gordon would have one more error every 70 chances or about 20 games. Simmons' speed and range have decreased quite a bit over the past couple years and Gordon has a plus arm, too, though maybe not as good as Simmons'. Essentially, Simmons is no longer a good shortstop. He's adequate. Gordon's physical tools are absolutely as good and his error rate isn't far away. I don't think it'll be a significant downgrade to play Gordon vs. Simmons.

You may have decided Twins coaches and scouts are beyond reproach, but Twins infield prospects are almost universally poor when it comes to fielding percentages. Gordon, Lewis, Cavaco, Miranda, Steer; they're all seemingly poor with their fielding percentages. I think Arraez has the best rate among all middle infield prospects the Twins developed recently, and he's average-ish. I find it very hard to believe the Twins just can't draft or sign young players who can learn to put a ball in a glove and throw accurately enough for other fielders to catch the throw, but maybe the Twins keep rolling snake eyes when it comes to fielding prowess?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Simmons is already average-ish (a little below) because of error rate. How bad could Gordon realistically be? If we were to use Gordon's .960 fielding percentage vs. Simmons' .974 this year, Gordon would have one more error every 70 chances or about 20 games. Simmons' speed and range have decreased quite a bit over the past couple years and Gordon has a plus arm, too, though maybe not as good as Simmons'. Essentially, Simmons is no longer a good shortstop. He's adequate. Gordon's physical tools are absolutely as good and his error rate isn't far away. I don't think it'll be a significant downgrade to play Gordon vs. Simmons.

You may have decided Twins coaches and scouts are beyond reproach, but Twins infield prospects are almost universally poor when it comes to fielding percentages. Gordon, Lewis, Cavaco, Miranda, Steer; they're all seemingly poor with their fielding percentages. I think Arraez has the best rate among all middle infield prospects the Twins developed recently, and he's average-ish. I find it very hard to believe the Twins just can't draft or sign young players who can learn to put a ball in a glove and throw accurately enough for other fielders to catch the throw, but maybe the Twins keep rolling snake eyes when it comes to fielding prowess?

Where did he say they were beyond reproach?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Simmons is already average-ish (a little below) because of error rate. How bad could Gordon realistically be? If we were to use Gordon's .960 fielding percentage vs. Simmons' .974 this year, Gordon would have one more error every 70 chances or about 20 games. Simmons' speed and range have decreased quite a bit over the past couple years and Gordon has a plus arm. Essentially, Simmons is no longer a good shortstop. He's adequate. Gordon's physical tools are absolutely as good and his error rate isn't far away. I don't think it'll be a significant downgrade to play Gordon vs. Simmons.

You may have decided Twins coaches and scouts are beyond reproach, but Twins infield prospects are almost universally poor when it comes to fielding percentages. Gordon, Lewis, Cavaco, Miranda, Steer; they're all seemingly poor with their fielding percentages. I think Arraez has the best rate among all middle infield prospects the Twins developed recently, and he's average-ish. I find it very hard to believe the Twins just can't draft or sign young players who can learn to put a ball in a glove and throw accurately enough for other fielders to catch the throw, but maybe the Twins keep rolling snake eyes when it comes to fielding prowess?

Ah, the famous "you just agree with the front office all the time" argument... come on, you're better than that. Too many conflate "I've seen no evidence" with "no one has seen evidence". Those aren't the same thing and we all need to acknowledge it, especially in situations such as this one where the data imbalance between parties is as lopsided as it can get (one side has years of examination, the other has basically none).

What I'm actually saying is that I can't declare someone is mismanaging something when they have evidence something is true while I have no evidence the opposite is true. To believe and argue otherwise is, in a word, arrogance... a word thrown at this front office almost daily on this forum.

And you hanging on so dearly to fielding percentage, of all things, only indicates just how little data you have to evaluate Nick Gordon. Sure, errors matter, but if we've learned anything about baseball over the past two decades, it's just how little of overall defensive value can be gleaned from fielding percentage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris Martin was a player judged to be a little short of the skills to be an every day shortstop and then he morphed into a versatile skilled defender at multiple positions who was able to be very productive playing all around the field. Perhaps Nick Gordon can fill a similar position for the Twins. He is athletic and already competent at six positions and hopefully his fire is to play often and get at bats. A player can want to be the everyday player at one position but be more valuable in a utility role. I wonder if Luis Arraez suffered some because he doesn't fit in the outfield and he knows it. I cannot say this is true for Arraez, but Nick Gordon may fill that multiple position role well next season. I hope so because his speed is a needed skill to the Twins lineup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Ah, the famous "you just agree with the front office all the time" argument... come on, you're better than that. Too many conflate "I've seen no evidence" with "no one has seen evidence". Those aren't the same thing and we all need to acknowledge it, especially in situations such as this one where the data imbalance between parties is as lopsided as it can get (one side has years of examination, the other has basically none).

What I'm actually saying is that I can't declare someone is mismanaging something when they have evidence something is true while I have no evidence the opposite is true. To believe and argue otherwise is, in a word, arrogance... a word thrown at this front office almost daily on this forum.

And you hanging on so dearly to fielding percentage, of all things, only indicates just how little data you have to evaluate Nick Gordon. Sure, errors matter, but if we've learned anything about baseball over the past two decades, it's just how little of overall defensive value can be gleaned from fielding percentage.

Your argument is the Twins don't need to start Gordon at SS because their coaches and/or scouts said he can't cover it and they have a lot of time watching him at the position. Am I wrong? The coaches, scouts and manager said Garver couldn't play catcher, but it seems that was premature.

I'm saying based on sprint speed, 90 foot splits, his original scouting reports, throwing velocity at the draft point and if you want, his 4.29 RF/9 in over 500 career starts across 6 straight years 2014-2019 where those same coaches played Gordon as a primay SS, the Twins should have evaluated Gordon at the MLB level. Not because of Gordon himself, but because the Twins were running a veteran with no team control playing below AAA replacement level out there every day and have jack squat at SS for 2022. It's easy to say free agency is the answer, but the Twins also have a black hole at #1-2 in the starting rotation and that's going to cost them $40-50MM/year to fix. It honestly doesn't matter much now. It's too late now so the Twins are absolutely in a position of just trusting their scouts and coaches... who have not done a passable job in regard to developing middle infielder defense over the past several years.

I don't consider not starting Gordon at SS to be the end of the world. Ultimately, he's still unlikely to be an MLB caliber shortstop. I'm saying the criticism the Twins didn't even bother to take a look and see if they had a potential backup shortstop appears more valid now than it did a couple months ago. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Your argument is the Twins don't need to start Gordon at SS because their coaches and/or scouts said he can't cover it and they have a lot of time watching him at the position. Am I wrong? The coaches, scouts and manager said Garver couldn't play catcher, but it seems that was premature.

I'm saying based on sprint speed, 90 foot splits, his original scouting reports, throwing velocity at the draft point and if you want, his 4.29 RF/9 in over 500 career starts across 6 straight years 2014-2019 where those same coaches played Gordon as a primay SS, the Twins should have evaluated Gordon at the MLB level. Not because of Gordon himself, but because the Twins were running a veteran with no team control playing below AAA replacement level out there every day and have jack squat at SS for 2022. It's easy to say free agency is the answer, but the Twins also have a black hole at #1-2 in the starting rotation and that's going to cost them $40-50MM/year to fix. It honestly doesn't matter much now. It's too late now so the Twins are absolutely in a position of just trusting their scouts and coaches... who have not done a passable job in regard to developing middle infielder defense over the past several years.

I don't consider not starting Gordon at SS to be the end of the world. Ultimately, he's still unlikely to be an MLB caliber shortstop. I'm saying the criticism the Twins didn't even bother to take a look and see if they had a potential backup shortstop appears more valid now than it did a couple months ago. 

His argument is pretty clear....we can't say they have misjudged things, because we have zero data. Not that he can't play SS....but we can't say they are wrong, given we have no data and they have more than a year of data. He clearly states that and bolds it right in the post you quote. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Why do people believe they have no evidence whether he can or cannot play shortstop in Minnesota?

Fair point. I think, for me at least, it's not so much the specifics of this case but rather that the FO seems to have whiffed big-time on some other talent evaluations. To my thinking, they were wrong about the FA starters they brought in, wrong about the Rule 5 guys they lost, and wrong about some trades in their regime. They could have misevaluated Gordon as well, and the Twins will need SS depth in 2022 (in fact, they needed it this year, too.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If he can play short on a regular basis remains to be seen. It looks like his future is a super utility type. I think that's a good role for him on this team and he could replace any value Astudillo brings.

 

I saw some one mention he has a plus arm. Really? Is that a consensus? He sure doesn't pass the eye test for me. Especially in the OF. If I'm coaching first or third against the Twins and Gordon is anywhere in the OF, I'm wind-milling till my arm falls off. Maybe the arm plays in the INF but it sure doesn't look like it in the OF.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, LastOnePicked said:

Fair point. I think, for me at least, it's not so much the specifics of this case but rather that the FO seems to have whiffed big-time on some other talent evaluations. To my thinking, they were wrong about the FA starters they brought in, wrong about the Rule 5 guys they lost, and wrong about some trades in their regime. They could have misevaluated Gordon as well, and the Twins will need SS depth in 2022 (in fact, they needed it this year, too.)

The guys lost in the rule 5 and the trades they were wrong about were guys in the very low minors, not guys like Gordon. Not sure those are great comparisons. They've seen far, far, far, far, far more of Gordon in the minors than any of the guys they lost in trade or rule 5. None of those guys were even in the high minors. It's certainly not a good look that they don't have those players anymore, but those are very different evaluations than the Gordon evaluation.

I don't see anyone saying the Twins shouldn't/couldn't have played Gordon at SS more, and sooner, but the suggestion that they needed to play him at the major league level to see what they have or comparing his evaluation to rule 5 and traded players aren't fair in my mind. They know what Gordon can do, and he's not a 155 game SS at the major league level for a competitive team. He's showing what I'd guess was their exact evaluation of him (and what pretty much every scouting report publicly available evaluated him as), a utility guy who can cover SS in a pinch, but you don't want as your everyday guy if you're trying to win a division.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

...we can't say they have misjudged things, because we have zero data...

Exactly my point. I doubt they're wrong about Gordon not being good enough. I believe they're 95% going to be right that Gordon can't handle SS.

Gordon's a long shot, but we (cause it's clear the most important people to satisfy are casual hack-analyst fans like me) don't have data and I don't think the Twins had anything to lose by playing a guy who might have the potential to at least be able to back up the position. That's my criticism. They had nothing to lose (in my opinion) by getting the data. I believe @Brock Beauchamp's point was if Gordon is a train wreck and every ball hit his way bounces off his glove like it was made of concrete instead of leather or he dives at every ball 10 feet away from him trying to impersonate Jake Cave, the young pitching staff could have their value stunted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no idea what to make of Gordon playing SS or not.  The Twins haven't let us see it enough to know, but even if he's not a SS the usage of this player has been nothing short of terrible.

He has great genetic pedigree.  1st round pedigree.  Top prospect pedigree.  Teams this bad should be looking for dudes like this to play and give a shot at catching lightning in a bottle.  I hope these last few weeks have been a sign of things to come, but even if they're not we need to allocate playing time much better than we did in Gordon's case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess is he isn’t a MLB SS but in a lost season I sure as hell would try to confirm the opinion with actual play. This FO has missed on player evaluation enough times that they have no basis for making this decision without actual proof. He might show them he can be the primary backup at SS next year. My guess is that he would be as good as Polanco was at short. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TheLeviathan said:

I have no idea what to make of Gordon playing SS or not.  The Twins haven't let us see it enough to know, but even if he's not a SS the usage of this player has been nothing short of terrible.

He has great genetic pedigree.  1st round pedigree.  Top prospect pedigree.  Teams this bad should be looking for dudes like this to play and give a shot at catching lightning in a bottle.  I hope these last few weeks have been a sign of things to come, but even if they're not we need to allocate playing time much better than we did in Gordon's case.

Beau Burrows had every opportunity to prove he wasn't a major league pitcher for the reasons in bold. I don't understand the hesitation with internal options that are likely on the roster "bubble." 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Featured Video

×
×
  • Create New...