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The World comes to SW Florida

Showcase : : Story
Jeff Dahn        
Published: Friday, January 03, 2014

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Let us go ahead and state the obvious, right off the bat: Nicholas Gordon has nothing to prove. As an attendee at 23 Perfect Game events – including six national-level showcases – Gordon has wowed scouts and college recruiters with his skills since his PG debut as a 14-year-old in 2010.

Yet here he is once again, back to provide what is certain to be another highlight reel of quality at-bats and electrifying plays at shortstop while maybe even delivering a 95 mph fastball or two. Gordon will most certainly be the featured performer when the 2014 Perfect Game World Showcase takes the stage at Terry Park for its two-day run Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 4-5.

The World Showcase is Perfect Game’s longest running national event, dating back to 1997 when several future big-leaguers, including outfielder Cody Ross, attended the inaugural event. Ross returned to the showcase in 1998 where he was joined by another future big-league outfielder, Carl Crawford.

This year’s World Showcase will feature 180 top prospects – most of them high school seniors in the class of 2014 – from cities and towns near and far.

The players will come from 30 states, Puerto Rico and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Quebec, all looking for yet another opportunity to get in front of the professional scouting community. They will also to be evaluated once again by Perfect Game’s large contingent of scouts who will fill the prospects’ individual PG player profiles with extensive notes and video produced by Skillshow.

The PG World Showcase is not a stand-alone event – the 2014 Perfect Game World Uncommitted Showcase for high school seniors and the 2014 Perfect Game National Underclass Showcase-Session 3 will run simultaneously. Seventy prospects will be at the World Uncommitted Showcase and another 140 at the National Underclass Showcase-Session 3.

The workout and batting practice sessions for all three showcases will be at Terry Park and most of the game action will take place there as well. Several of the games for the National Underclass-Session 3 will be played at City of Palms Park and the jetBlue Park Player Development Complex.

Nick Gordon is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound athletic shortstop and right-handed pitcher from Windermere, Fla., who has enjoyed a grand PG career over the past four years. The 2014 World Showcase will be his seventh PG showcase event, a run that included stops at the 2012 PG National Underclass Showcase-Main Event; the 2012 PG Junior National Showcase; the 2013 PG World Showcase; the 2013 PG National Showcase; and the 2013 PG All-American Classic presented by Rawlings.

A senior at Olympia High School and a two-year player for FTB Chandler who is ranked No. 2 nationally in the class of 2014, Gordon was the recipient of the 2013 Jackie Robinson Award, the honor bestowed on Perfect Game’s National Player of the Year. He has signed with Florida State but PG also ranks him as the No. 11 overall prospect in the 2014 MLB amateur draft – in other words, a certain first-rounder.

He is one of five top-100 2014 prospects that will be at Terry Park for the World Showcase this weekend. The others include:

Middle-infielder Milton Ramos from Hialeah, Fla., – a teammate of Gordon’s at FTB Chandler – who is ranked No. 31 and is a Florida Atlantic recruit; catcher Devon Fisher from Portsmouth, Va., a member of the Richmond Braves National Team and a Florida recruit ranked No. 61; outfielder Kevin Bryant Jr. from Taylors, S.C., an Upstate Maverick and South Carolina recruit ranked No. 82; and outfielder/first baseman Austin Murphy from Jacksonville, Fla., who played with the Jacksonville Rockets, is committed to Auburn and ranked No. 91.

The PG World Showcase has become a popular destination for Puerto Rico’s top prospects in the last three or four years. It was at the 2011 PG World Showcase that Carlos Correa was “discovered” on his way to becoming the No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Astros in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

There will be at least 32 top Puerto Rican prospects here this weekend, including eight of the U.S. territory’s top 10. Among them are outfielder Marco Rivera (ranked No. 1 in Puerto Rico, No. 164 nationally); shortstop Alexis Pantojas (No. 2 P.R., No. 183 nationally); shortstop Luis Alvarado (No. 3/No. 193); shortstop Jose Antonio Rodriguez (No. 4/No. 194); and catcher Roy Morales Rivera (No. 5/No. 250).

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