The career path for Nick Gordon hasn’t been an easy one. After being drafted fifth overall by the Twins in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft, Gordon was quickly labeled a bust by many, as the second baseman wasn’t progressing through the minor leagues as quickly as many hoped he would. In the Minors, Gordon consistently showed good contact skills, but failed to develop the power skills that would take his game to the next level.
In 2019, Gordon put up his best season in the Minor Leagues, posting a .298 average in 70 games with the AAA Rochester Red Wings and showing solid plate discipline that would transition to the Major League game. Then 2020 happened. With eyes on a Major League roster spot, Gordon’s plans were put on hold after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 right before the start of Summer Camp. The disease hit Gordon extremely hard, forcing him to miss the entirety of the 2020 season and putting his future Major League Baseball hopes in serious jeopardy.
After narrowly avoiding roster cuts and sticking on the 40-man roster with the Minnesota Twins, Nick Gordon came into the 2021 season with hopes of finally playing in the Major Leagues like his father and half brother had done before him.
After seven years of perseverance, Gordon finally achieved his lifelong dream and made it to the Major Leagues. And boy, is he making a first impression.
Through his first 24 plate appearances in the Big Leagues, Nick Gordon has collected 10 hits, posting a .435/.458/.565 slash line, with three stolen bases and a home run that he hit in front of his father, long time Major League pitcher, Flash Gordon.
Showing nice bat control and even a little bit of pop, Gordon has been showing early on in his big league career that his bat can play at the Major League level. The problem that Gordon faced, though, was his defensive limitations. Throughout his Minor League career, Gordon has shown himself to potentially be a bit stretched at the shortstop position, limiting his defensive abilities to just be second base. Backup second basemen without much additional positional flexibility don’t have much utility in the Majors, and unless Gordon could show defensive abilities elsewhere, his future role was still somewhat of a question.
Gordon’s future outlook changed on Thursday night, though, when he was thrust into center field after an Alex Kirilloff injury forced Gilberto Celestino to right field and opened up center for the former first round pick. Although it was just a one-game sample size, Gordon sure looked like a natural out there, showing the smooth movement, quick feet, and athleticism that it takes to stick in center field.
Center fielders in baseball, especially ones who can hit, are always going to be a coveted asset in Major League Baseball. While Gordon might not have what it takes to stick as a full-time center fielder, if he can get some opportunities in 2021 to show that he can fill in there, he will most definitely carve out a long-term role in the Majors as a multi-positional utilityman with plus-speed and plus-contact ability. This role especially being useful on a Minnesota Twins team that has consistently needed backup centerfield services over the years.
The road to the Majors for Nick Gordon has been more challenging than anyone could have anticipated. Gordon is finally getting his opportunity, though, and by the looks of it, he’s not going to give it up.
What have been your first impressions of Nick Gordon in 2021? Do you think he has carved out a role in the Big Leagues? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!