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Nick Gordon's management has been exceptional


Brock Beauchamp
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This is a classic case of a front office and coaching staff getting the absolute maximum out of a player and they deserve some recognition for it. Nick Gordon was destined for the waiver wire 12 months ago after scuffling between the minors and majors and suffering long-haul Covid. It was apparent he wasn't going to be an MLB shortstop so they re-cast him on the fly, trying him all over the diamond.

In 250 PAs, Nick Gordon now has a 119 OPS+ on the season.

How'd he get there? By the front office and coaching staff being *very* aggressive with his platoon usage. He has 207 PAs against RHP and only 43 PAs against LHP.

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15 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

This is a classic case of a front office and coaching staff getting the absolute maximum out of a player and they deserve some recognition for it. Nick Gordon was destined for the waiver wire 12 months ago after scuffling between the minors and majors and suffering long-haul Covid. It was apparent he wasn't going to be an MLB shortstop so they re-cast him on the fly, trying him all over the diamond.

In 250 PAs, Nick Gordon now has a 119 OPS+ on the season.

How'd he get there? By the front office and coaching staff being *very* aggressive with his platoon usage. He has 207 PAs against RHP and only 43 PAs against LHP.

That split is an underrated aspect.  Earl Weaver was said to be the master of looking past what a player couldn't do, and spotting what he could.  It apparently takes extra management to get the most out of Gordon, just as pairing John Lowenstein with Gary Roenicke gave Weaver an all-star level Frankenstein's Monster of a left fielder, and hopefully the results continue to pay off making it more than worth whatever roster juggling Baldelli has to do.

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31 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

This is a classic case of a front office and coaching staff getting the absolute maximum out of a player and they deserve some recognition for it. Nick Gordon was destined for the waiver wire 12 months ago after scuffling between the minors and majors and suffering long-haul Covid. It was apparent he wasn't going to be an MLB shortstop so they re-cast him on the fly, trying him all over the diamond.

In 250 PAs, Nick Gordon now has a 119 OPS+ on the season.

How'd he get there? By the front office and coaching staff being *very* aggressive with his platoon usage. He has 207 PAs against RHP and only 43 PAs against LHP.

Long haul covid, and before that, didn’t he have some kind of lengthy battle with an intestinal issue or virus? He seems to have had a couple of seasons where illness really zapped his physical strength and abilities. It’s good to see him contribute as he has. His will along with assistance from the coaching staff … and I’m sure his family has helped, given their pedigree in the MLB … Gordon has become a valuable team member. I’m glad the Twins didn’t give up on him as easily and quickly as most fans did.

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Credit to both him and the Twins. The Twins are smart to platoon him like they do, and his effort and ability to make himself an option at multiple positions has been impressive.

 

He made himself from a guy that might not make it, to a guy that’ll be in the league still in 5-7 years.

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Other than dealing with a lifetime stomach/digestive disorder he seems to have under control, and a bout of Covid that hospitalized him...not to mention a bum ankle a couple years ago just before the Twins promoted Arraez (although that turned out OK for the Twins)...Gordon's biggest problem might be failed expectations. If he had been a 4th or 5th round selection, many more would be singing his praises, IMO.

He's hitting and getting OB and providing some unexpected power here and there. (Just surprised how the ball jumps off his bat when he squares up). He's turned in to a pretty good defensive OF. And if you look at his numbers, he's trending upward.

I believe it was the SD series where he made a baserunning goof. But he had a really good game otherwise and showed a real spark. It's OK, and smart he's mostly playing against RHP, at least for now. Last time I looked, most of the human population and MLB is RH.

The FO kept him on the 40 man when they took over for a reason. They saw something valuable even though they owed no obligation to him. I think he's only going to get better and better. Time and experience just might allow him to hit better against LHP. Continued maturity and maybe another couple of pounds might allow him a few more XBH. My only complaint on his usage might  be running him more. His SB numbers this year are poor. Some of that is bad luck, and some is oversliding the bag. He was a speed weapon last year. Don't stop working with him and sending him.

I have to admit I've chuckled a few times over the season when some suggested Gordon might be a DFA to make room for someone else. He's actually doing EXACTLY what the Twins want him to do, and giving exactly what you want the last player on the bench to do. 

Now, the Twins DO HAVE some very intriguing utility options in the system, Julien just to name one, who MIGHT squeeze him out. But that's another time and another place. Gordon is doing just fine in his role, while trending upward, and I'm damn happy we have him and the FO didn't give up on him.

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49 minutes ago, Linus said:

Yea I’d prefer to give Nick the credit - he’s hung in there. If anything I think the Twins have underestimated him.

They’ve underestimated him so much that he has a below average OPS against LHP, which they’ve managed away to the tune of allowing him to face LHP only 17% of the time.

That’s REALLY hard to do, as opposing managers champ at the bit to throw a lefty against the likes of Nick Gordon any time after the fourth inning. 

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10 minutes ago, Yoke said:

Credit to both him and the Twins. The Twins are smart to platoon him like they do, and his effort and ability to make himself an option at multiple positions has been impressive.

He made himself from a guy that might not make it, to a guy that’ll be in the league still in 5-7 years.

Well said. 

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58 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

They’ve underestimated him so much that he has a below average OPS against LHP, which they’ve managed away to the tune of allowing him to face LHP only 17% of the time.

That’s REALLY hard to do, as opposing managers champ at the bit to throw a lefty against the likes of Nick Gordon any time after the fourth inning. 

Well that’s been the case in baseball for a hundred years. Hardly revolutionary thinking. He’s persevered thru lots of crap. That’s the most notable factor in his success. 

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1 hour ago, Linus said:

Well that’s been the case in baseball for a hundred years. Hardly revolutionary thinking. He’s persevered thru lots of crap. That’s the most notable factor in his success. 

I’m not trying to take anything away from Gordon but the coaching staff has managed him extremely well.

And it’s not the case you can easily limit a LHB to seeing LHP 17% of the time. Find me a other lefty guy with that number of PAs with only 17% against LHP. 

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I think it's time to stop avoiding left handed pitchers for Nick Gordon. He doesn't bail out, and his bat has a good power stroke from inside out. I have little doubt he could hit lefty outside pitches to left field, and his bat appears quick enough to pull inside pitches. 

Now that Gordon is starting to look like a first round draft pick, take off the training wheels and let's watch him go. 

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7 hours ago, jimbo92107 said:

I think it's time to stop avoiding left handed pitchers for Nick Gordon. He doesn't bail out, and his bat has a good power stroke from inside out. I have little doubt he could hit lefty outside pitches to left field, and his bat appears quick enough to pull inside pitches. 

Now that Gordon is starting to look like a first round draft pick, take off the training wheels and let's watch him go. 

Joe Mauer had a career .740 OPS against LHP. Lefties don’t hit lefties, there’s no reason to even try. What the Twins are doing is wildly effective, don’t mess with it. 

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It's interesting, over the past few Twins victories Gordon seems to be at the center of virtually every big play. Scoring the winning runs, flying home on a safety squeeze, stealing bases, hitting big home runs....the guy's just been EVERYWHERE. Emotionally he's becoming a leader and I am wondering if the Twins are going to start considering him over Larnach/Kirilloff as an everyday player next year. I know I would be for it. 

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I'm still skeptical, but there's no debating Gordon has had a really nice 6 weeks at the plate. He's been really valuable. And the long side of a platoon is doable, for sure. A LH hitter can be protected from LH pitching. There's just not that much LH pitching.

I'm not yet ready to believe he's a 120 OPS+ hitter, even platooned, but I've certainly been wrong before. He doesn't even have to be that good to be very valuable, given his versatility. 

 

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9 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

I'm still skeptical, but there's no debating Gordon has had a really nice 6 weeks at the plate. He's been really valuable. And the long side of a platoon is doable, for sure. A LH hitter can be protected from LH pitching. There's just not that much LH pitching.

I'm not yet ready to believe he's a 120 OPS+ hitter, even platooned, but I've certainly been wrong before. He doesn't even have to be that good to be very valuable, given his versatility. 

 

I’m also skeptical he can continue with a 120 OPS+ but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth so hey, Nick Gordon is great! Yay!

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16 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

They’ve underestimated him so much that he has a below average OPS against LHP, which they’ve managed away to the tune of allowing him to face LHP only 17% of the time.

That’s REALLY hard to do, as opposing managers champ at the bit to throw a lefty against the likes of Nick Gordon any time after the fourth inning. 

Seriously dude? Gordon owns a wRC+103 against lefties this year. While it's not expected Gordon is a great play against lefties, all we've got are small sample sizes. This front office nearly screwed the pooch with Gordon. They consistently undervalued him and were intent on writing him off. They played him sporadically giving him long periods on the bench or with minimal playing time last year which is just about the worst thing you can do with a rookie. Not to mention Gordon was destined to finish the year in AAA and be non-tendered at the end of last year when an injury essentially forced Gordon to get regular MLB playing time.

The front office nearly gets the exact same credit for Gordon as they get with Tyler Wells. Nick Gordon has done it almost on his own, despite the front office.

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17 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Seriously dude? Gordon owns a wRC+103 against lefties this year. While it's not expected Gordon is a great play against lefties, all we've got are small sample sizes. This front office nearly screwed the pooch with Gordon. They consistently undervalued him and were intent on writing him off. They played him sporadically giving him long periods on the bench or with minimal playing time last year which is just about the worst thing you can do with a rookie. Not to mention Gordon was destined to finish the year in AAA and be non-tendered at the end of last year when an injury essentially forced Gordon to get regular MLB playing time.

The front office nearly gets the exact same credit for Gordon as they get with Tyler Wells. Nick Gordon has done it almost on his own, despite the front office.

Sure, okay. They held Gordon in a 40-man spot for an entire off-season because they hate him and are incompetent. Yeah yeah, I get it. 

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29 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Sure, okay. They held Gordon in a 40-man spot for an entire off-season because they hate him and are incompetent. Yeah yeah, I get it. 

Not exactly. They didn't plan on putting Gordon on the 40 man until he forced the issue when an injury granted him regular playing time at the MLB level. Gordon put them into a situation where they almost had to roster him. Gordon changed their perspective and forced their hand through his efforts.

The front office corrected their mistake in time. They don't get credit for fixing the mistake they made.

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3 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth

I am. :)

Nick Gordon leads the team* in batting average on balls in play, at .370.  You know what I'm going to say next: .370 isn't something "management" has brought about, nor has his hustle or any of his other fine attributes, and it will decrease eventually.

Which isn't the end of the world.  It still leaves him as a viable candidate for last man on the major league roster.

* Okay, Sandy Leon actually leads with .500 in his 10 PA so far.

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19 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

They’ve underestimated him so much that he has a below average OPS against LHP, which they’ve managed away to the tune of allowing him to face LHP only 17% of the time.

That’s REALLY hard to do, as opposing managers champ at the bit to throw a lefty against the likes of Nick Gordon any time after the fourth inning. 

It is much easier to do with the 3-batter minimum rule. It’s generally not worth it for teams to try to get a lefty pitcher in to face a guy like Gordon anymore (unless he is batting between other lefties).

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4 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

It is much easier to do with the 3-batter minimum rule. It’s generally not worth it for teams to try to get a lefty pitcher in to face a guy like Gordon anymore (unless he is batting between other lefties).

It's slightly easier to do now but when the Twins actually had something approaching a real outfield, they had a bunch of left-handed hitters, enough to make putting in a lefty worth it most of the time. Especially the bottom half of the order where Gordon usually bats.

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2 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Sure, okay. They held Gordon in a 40-man spot for an entire off-season because they hate him and are incompetent. Yeah yeah, I get it. 

Some people refuse to give the FO any credit....

This team has done everything right with Gordon in the past few years. I have no idea how good a hitter he'll be long term, but he's a legit MLB player, and I would not have taken that side on a bet two years ago 

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22 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

And it’s not the case you can easily limit a LHB to seeing LHP 17% of the time. Find me a other lefty guy with that number of PAs with only 17% against LHP. 

That's an interesting question! I don't have an easy source for %, so I pulled up LHH vs LHP in the Fangraphs Splits Leaderboard.

Right now, Nick Gordon is 82nd in MLB in total number of such PA, listed right between Harold Castro and Raimel Tapia -- both of whom have more total PA than Gordon too, so their % against LHP is lower than Gordon's. Just eyeballing the list, I found Ji-Man Choi, David Peralta, Jesús Sánchez, and Seth Brown all with more total PA and lower percentages. I don't know who's the lowest, but Gavin Sheets has 259 total PA and only 9.7% against LHP.

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He's one of those unsung players that good teams need.  He can play adequately at multiple positions and not be a liability at the plate.  He's not going to win awards, but bit players like him are important.  After everything that he went through on his journey to the Show, I'm happy to see him doing well.  I don't know how long it'll last, but I'll enjoy it for as long as it does.

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Nick is doing what the average drafted player you want from them.  Of course with the high draft status you want him to be an all-star, but he has the look of being a MLB player for several years.  Will he be a superstar?  Doubtful.  However, he should be a starter for someone, or at minimum a utility guy.  I would agree if he was not drafted 5th overall we would be very happy with what he is doing.  

However, look at the number 1 and 2 drafted in that draft.  One did not sign, medicals, but even after neither have made MLB and not likely to. Many after him have not made the majors either.  Could we have done better, sure, Trea Turner was there, personally he was who I wanted them to draft, but we are at least getting some MLB value from our player and we could be getting none.  

He is 26, and could have a good 4 or 5 MLB seasons.  Maybe more.  Some of the best MLB guys did not break into the league until then.  It is rare, and do not expect it, but you never know. Either way he can help us, or now that he has shown he has value he could be traded if needed. 

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22 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Sure, okay. They held Gordon in a 40-man spot for an entire off-season because they hate him and are incompetent. Yeah yeah, I get it. 

Don't you know that any hint of a complement is a complete endorsement of the front office? If you despise someone, you must despise them completely and never indicate that they've done anything of worth.

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