Photo: Dennis Hubbard

Gordon's star on the rise

Colin Brown

Published: Tuesday, July 07, 2015



CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Nick Gordon is a budding star that is following in the footsteps of his major league playing brother Dee Gordon – currently a member of the Miami Marlins organization – and retired MLB veteran father Tom Gordon. The fifth overall pick by the Minnesota Twins in the 2014 draft, Gordon, displays outstanding athletic ability along with strong defensive range and a lighting quick bat.

Over the course of his first two seasons in the minors, Gordon says he has been staying true to himself. Currently a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Low A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins in the Midwest League, Gordon has been taking things day by day while improving his game any chance he gets. His batting average has climbed to .250 in recent weeks while providing his usual rock-steady defense at shortstop, as evidenced by his .964 fielding percentage, as Gordon has started to look more like a high-profile prospect settling into his new baseball role.

At 19-years old, Gordon is a five-tool product that has been put into the spot light at a very young age. Although he has been the face of the Cedar Rapids Kernels this season, the shortstop has not given the added attention much thought.

I’m working hard to improve my game and support my teammates any way possible,” Gordon said simply of his time spent with the Kernels so far this year.

Growing up in Windermere, Fla., Gordon used Perfect Game baseball to his advantage. Participating at several events across the country, he quickly caught the eye of many scouts while showing off his game all across the country.

I got to play against a lot of talented guys,” Gordon said of his time on Perfect Game's showcase and tournament circuit. “The competition was great and something I liked to measure myself against every chance I got. Perfect Game gave me the opportunity to show what I was all about.”

By the end of his high school career, Gordon was one of the most highly touted draft prospects, finishing his high school career ranked third overall in the high school class rankings of 2014, and was also member of the 2014 Perfect Game All-American Classic.

With two other PG All-Americans also on the Kernels roster to open the 2015 season – lefthanded pitcher Stephen Gonsalves and catcher Brian Navarreto – the trio had the opportunity to play alongside one another once since since their high school days. Gonsalves has now moved on to play for the Fort Myers Miracle at the High A level in the Florida State League with Gordon and Navarreto awaiting their phone calls to join their former teammate, which could come this season as the two young talents continue to make strides in the Midwest League.

While Gordon continues to grow in every facet of the game, he has also had the privilege of working with some of the best the game has to offer. His mentors – Barry Larkin and his former Major League pitching father Tom – have helped him perfect his game over the years and now in the offseason.

They have both helped me take my game to new heights and work to improve day by day,” Gordon said. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve grown with heir help.”

The long-time Cincinnati shortstop, Barry Larkin is an ideal mentor/coach that will continue to work with Gordon as he moves through the minor league ranks. With guidance and coaching of this magnitude, the young shortstop looks to be a player that will undoubtedly have great fundamentals.

With a great supporting cast around him, Gordon has shown flashes of being a player with depth in his game. As his batting average has started to climb as the summer has heated up, Gordon believes this is due to being more comfortable at the plate as the season has progressed. With tougher pitching being seen on a daily basis, the 19-year-old has learned to slow the game down.

You have to take it one at-bat at a time,” Gordon said of recent improvements. “If you start to rush, the game will overpower you.”

With a .325 on-base percentage, Gordon has also proven to be a deadly weapon on the basepaths. Tied for sixth in the Midwest League in steals, his 18 swipes are further proof of his five-tool talents, giving him yet another weapon in his arsenal. Outstanding speed accompanied by much-improved discipline at the plate make him a dangerous presence at the top of the lineup, and his 25 walks are yet another indication that the young Gordon is proving to be a well-rounded asset in all offensive areas of the game.

That is something his brother Dee has also been mastering in the majors over the course of his young Major League career, who is currentyl hitting .339 after leading the league in stolen bases a year ago with 64 for the Dodgers.

Following in his brother's footsteps, Nick Gordon is also looking to continue what is starting to look like a long and impressive string of talent that has emerged out of the Cedar Rapids Kernels organization in recent years. With current big league stars including Mike Trout, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, and most recently, Byron Buxton, all coming through town in Northeast Iowa, Gordon is in good hands as he goes through the minor league growing pains.

Buxton, the latest to move up to the majors, is one reason the Minnesota Twins are possibly thinking about what could be, as one day Gordon could be playing alongside Buxton in the Twin Cities. Playing the first half of the year in Cedar Rapids in 2013, Buxton showed his outstanding abilities in the field and at the plate before moving up in the Twin’s ranks fairly quickly.

Gordon, who won’t turn 20 until October, acknowledges he has a lot of work to do before he attains that status. Howver, looking into the future the Minnesota Twins appear as though they have star power on the rise that could be in place for a very long time.


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