Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Decision Looms on First Round Pick


Twins Daily Contributor

The Minnesota Twins selected Nick Gordon with the 5th overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. It took him seven years to make his Major League debut, not uncommon for a high school kid, but the longevity with the organization may be coming to an end.

Gordon wasn’t necessarily considered a reach in the draft. It was hopeful that he’d stick at shortstop and add some to his frame developing some gap power. He’s faired better than both Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, the two high school draftees before him, but Aaron Nola, Michael Conforto, Trea Turner, Matt Chapman, and Michael Kopech are some of the names taken later in the first round.

As mentioned, it took Gordon a while to establish himself as a professional. Small in stature, it was going to be a process for him to acclimate to playing a full season both physically and mentally. Gordon had the benefit of his father Tom Gordon, and brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, having already seen success at the highest level. A Top-100 prospect prior to the 2015 season, plenty was made of what Gordon would eventually amount to.

Last season the Twins needed Gordon. After Byron Buxton was lost to injury, he proved valuable as a fill-in centerfielder. He wound up playing every position on the diamond aside from first base, pitcher, or catcher. Thrust into a super-utility role, Gordon appeared over his head at the plate. An 80 OPS+ was an accumulation of a .240/.292/.355 slash line. In 200 at-bats, Gordon posted just 14 extra-base hits with a gaudy 55/12 K/BB ratio. Still, coming into 2022, there was every reason to assume he could play the super-utility role at the back end of the bench once again.

The problem is that Minnesota is now better than needing that type of player at the end of their bench. Gordon is once again not hitting, and now he’s become the low man in the pecking order at every position he can play. The one facet to his game that seemed appealing off the bench, his speed, has been nonexistent. Manager Rocco Baldelli hasn’t had many spots to utilize Gordon as a pinch-runner, and the former first-rounder has just one steal in three attempts this season. After going 10-for-11 in stolen base chances last year, it’s now something of an afterthought when it comes to Minnesota’s plans.

In 2021 there was a depth issue for the Minnesota Twins. As injuries mounted, Gordon found himself a way to create value. In learning positions on the fly, he was able to secure playing time in multiple spots across the roster. Top prospects like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were both injured. The big league club needed to call upon a Double-A centerfielder that wasn't ready. The 26-man was truly a mess on any given day. It's a testament to Gordon's willingness and adaptability that he could immediately step in. Minnesota needed that and he was there. It's in that vein that he's proven worthy of a Major League roster spot even if it isn't on his present team.

Having to find a way to roster a healthier-looking Alex Kirilloff, a breakout in Royce Lewis, and even a rebounding Jose Miranda, there’s just no room for Gordon. The difficulty here is that this will end Gordon’s time with the organization. Out of options, he’ll go on waivers and it would be shocking if he is not claimed. He’s a fringe Major League talent that would be better suited for an organization ripe with opportunity. Minnesota is looking ahead to the Postseason though, and every game he’s on the roster they are keeping a bigger talent at bay.

In a season where offense is down across the board, Gordon's .627 OPS is hardly a death sentence. Versatility is something that many organizations hold in a high regard, especially in an era where pitching is so specialized. Finding a fit with a team that likes to run a bit more could help Gordon maximize his value as well. No matter how you break down his game, it's clear that someone will take a shot at utilizing the body of work. What could've been stalled out from a long battle with Covid or a slow trajectory on the farm has instead turned into a usable big league talent. It's a testament to Minnesota that their current depth has provided an opportunity to raise the water level, but there's definitely going to be guys caught in the shuffle.

You always hope for a first-round pick to see success in the drafting organization. On one hand, Gordon achieved the goal of reaching the highest level. On the other hand, with the prospect status and Futures Game appearance, you know the hope was for more. Minnesota can see him in the opposing dugout down the line, but it’s become time to cut the cord here.

 


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

This feels a few weeks premature to me.
I think Kiriloff and Lewis are each most likely one injury from being back on the roster. Or they’re waiting to be swapped in place of Miranda, (or Larnach/Garlick if either slumps.)

I could be wrong. Nick does seem a borderline mlb-type talent at this stage, but he seems like a well-liked, reliable contributor and speed is not just about base stealing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

No not yet, im not a big Nick Gordon guy but the super utility guys at the end of the bench is a needed piece on every MLB roster.  I dont want Miranda up or Lewis up to fill a utility role and not playing everyday that hampers development.  

You start cutting guys like this an the injury bug hits we are back to bouncing through the AAAA players having to come up and filling on a regular basis.  Look at the state of our current bullpen, you get some injuries to the staff and depth goes quickly.

Gordon has value on this team even if it isnt as a everyday player or tons of upside production.  Teams need that kind of guy who can fill in everywhere and be ready for a 1 or 2 games a week.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Settle down on cutting Gordon. You need guys like him on the bench to come in and run, play D or give a guy a day off. If Punto can play for nearly a decade, so can Nick. You don't bring up a Lewis or Kiriloff to be a backup, those guys play everyday.  It will get interesting when Sano is healthy though 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Read the headline thinking this would be about who the Twins would take in the coming draft.  Kept reading and was over half thru that I realized there could be another meaning to the headline.  Dah!

Count me among those who see value in having someone like Gordon on this team and believes he will be here when the season ends.  Do I want him starting 70 games a year, NO.  But The player I see on the field is better than the past and doesn’t hurt the Twins when he is in the lineup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Nick Gordon hit .271 in the month of May and plays spectacular defense in LF. Since May 12, he is hitting .289.

Using OPS+ to evaluate Gordon is meaningless because it skews pretty heavily toward power hitters. But power hitter or slugger is just one role on a team. It’s not Gordon’s role. He should maybe be compared against all leadoff hitters since that’s closest to his natural role.

Gordon has so many ways to help. A stolen base. A great catch that saves runs. 1st to 3rd. Triple potential. And an ability to play probably 5 positions well. I would not even think about letting him go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a huge fan of Nick Gordon. Always have enjoyed talking about baseball and other things with him. 

He is a big leaguer. He is a very nice utility player, capable of at least solid defense in 5-6 spots. There is value in that, even if his OPS+ never reaches 100. 

That said, the Twins are in a little different position. They have a lot of depth at all those positions that Nick plays. 

SS: Correa, Lewis
2B: Polanco, Arraez
3B: Urshela, Miranda, Lewis
LF: Larnach, Garlick, Celestino, Kirilloff
CF: Buxton, Celestino

And it's that depth that may make Gordon expandable IF they can find nearly every day playing time for the above players. Gordon can be a twice-per-week utility guy. The others you'd want playing nearly daily. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back when Gordon's trade value was up there I was all in for trading him. But now after he made it to MLB, his trade value has bottomed out. I've underestimated his value to the team earlier but now I really appreciate him and IMO he's worth much more to us than what we can get on the trade market. 

I admire him for stepping up for the cause & took on learning such a foreign & demanding position as CF on the fly. Right now I consider him as a CF and a respectable LH hitting platoon behind Buxton & Celestino. MLB BA has been down I think around .235 so Gordon's hitting isn't that bad and sometimes comes up with a big hit.

With Buxton we need at least 3 deep CFer and not need Kepler there. Plus his value at infield & even need be pitching, we may need his talent there at sometime this year. No, I'm not for cutting Gordon. I'm not for having Arraez at utility I'd like to keep him at 1st although I wasn't happy w/ him not scooping up that low throw from Polanco.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Community Moderator

I like Gordon. Because of that, I’d set him free. Forget about the Kirilloff and Lewis situation, Spencer Steer is ready and hopefully Martin is soon as well. The Twins are in position to not have to sweat losing fringe MLB talent.

Let Gordon find a team that has the need and roster space to give him a legit shot at reaching his ceiling. I will not be jealous, angry or chagrined if he does so elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old-Timey Member
Just now, nicksaviking said:

I like Gordon. Because if that Id set him free. Forget about the Kirilloff and Lewis situation, Spencer Steer is ready and hopefully Martin is soon as well. The Twins are in position to not have to sweat losing fringe MLB talent.

Let Gordon find a team that has the need and roster space to give him a legit shot at reaching his ceiling. I will not be jealous, angry or chagrined if he does so elsewhere.

I agree with you, but given the way this team is resting players and relying on a short bench.....I'm not sure they can let go of Gordon.  We basically need our 2-3 man bench to be able to play everywhere.

I'm 100% with you on Steer, but Gordon's ability to do IF and OF is something this team needs to have.  (Also why I think we're at a point where Lewis has to stay up)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

I like Gordon. Because of that, I’d set him free. Forget about the Kirilloff and Lewis situation, Spencer Steer is ready and hopefully Martin is soon as well. The Twins are in position to not have to sweat losing fringe MLB talent.

Let Gordon find a team that has the need and roster space to give him a legit shot at reaching his ceiling. I will not be jealous, angry or chagrined if he does so elsewhere.

Well said.  I think this is the point I am getting to as well.  I wonder if the FO is just waiting to some degree until the trade deadline or for a team a little desperate for what Gordon brings to gain some value back. 

While he is a great Swiss army knife off the bench we are approaching the point where this team will have to leave prospects unprotected and have less roster flexibility if they keep him.  Not to mention right now he essentially blocks Lewis and potentially Steer later this year.  Steer has a balanced plate approach and can hit for power and can play all infield positions.  The Twins have Celestino to cover the outfield now so I am not sure they need Gordon as much as they did last year.

I don't see the Twins in a hurry to make a move though and I think he has through June to see what happens injury wise etc.  

I agree he deserves a better chance with another team.  I think his bat will play up given time and opportunity but I don't think he is going to get that in Minnesota.  I think a move would be for both sides given where the Twins are right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a big fan of Nick Gordon, but he is the type of player who can be packaged with a couple of other guys to gain someone needed for the team. I would not release him even though he deserves to get a chance with another team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

An 80+OPS hitting good defensive player on the bench who can play many positions including SS is valuable.  Think Nick Punto.  I can see a nice 3-6 year run with him as a backup.  I do hope he improves with the bat a little more but I think he has done enough to keep his spot on the team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

I strongly disagree with an assertion that Gordon is either so invaluable that the FO would entertain a DFA of him, or that his trade value has "bottomed out". I think the opposite is closer to the truth. I mean, think about this: Cave was a slightly below league-average 4th OF last year (yes, I realize he's a favorite whipping boy). This year, we've had THREE 4th OF's emerge who are all at least arguably above league average in Celestino, Gordon, and Garlick.

Let's assume for a moment these things: 1) the FO has confidence that Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, and Kiriloff will all be 100+ OPS guys and adequate OF starters; 2) the FO thinks Lewis can become a high-octane version of Whit Merrifield, and become that player immediately.

If that's the case, then one, or even two, of Garlick, Gordon, and Celestino is immediately a surplus asset, eligible to be dangled at the deadline, hopefully IMO for low minors talent.

If I'm calling the shots, I'm seeking a stupid overpay for one of these players. And if I'm wildly enthusiastic about Austin Martin or Will Holland emerging in a hurry as the next Nick Gordon? I take my chances and fetch a tasty return for two of these guys IF the opportunity arises. Because you'd still have one of them, plus Lewis, and if the injury bug hits, a short period with Cave or Contreras is tolerable. Afterthought: Arraez can fumble around in LF for a game or two as well, and maybe Miranda if a slew of injuries happens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Right now, he is a good, solid 26thg player. SImilar to what Willians Astudillo brought to the team. He can play a lot of positions in a pinch. Only Gordon has some speed.

The problem is that teams have been carrying that extra pitcher as the 26th player. So you have a three person bench, which is largely a catcher, and outfielder and a bat or infielder. It is nice to have a bat, and a speedster. That is THE luxury the 26th roster spot gives you.

Is he a longterm solution for the Twins anywhere? Chances are -  no. He is being bypassed as a regular But until the Twins farm system produces just another bench guy, or if the Twins decide to go the free agent route and search out another, say, Ehire...he is still young and offers a variety of skills.

Gordon may still feel he is better than being a bench role player. But the benefit is that he has to show this on the field.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Good article, good discussion, but I would table any trade talk for a couple weeks. Let's watch and see how Gordon handles the next several games, especially at the plate. I'm seeing a look on his face that reminds me a little of Buxton, after he knew he'd found his swing. 

Don't be terribly surprised if Nick Gordon goes on a hot streak. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

I have 3 additional points to support keeping Gordon as our super utility....

1. His salary 

2. His salary.

3. Oh there was one other thing...what was it again.... oh yeah... his negligible salary!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

I consider Nick Gordon to be a great utility player because he's inexpensive and will likely stay that way while being able to fill in at shortstop and center field. Exactly the type of asset who is valuable to fill in at premium defensive positions for 10 day IL stints and rest days without breaking the bank. I don't think Gordon is likely going to be the kind of player you want starting every day on a playoff team, but players like Kirilloff and Miranda have nothing to do with Gordon as neither can cover CF or SS.

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

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Twins community on the internet.

×
×
  • Create New...