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Nick Gordon Rumors
3:00pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Gordon also receives scholarship money, which takes the deal’s value to roughly $4MM, though the scholarship’s value doesn’t count against the Twins’ bonus pool.
1:31pm: Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter) that Gordon signed for the slot value of $3.851MM.
1:21pm: The Twins announced, via press release, that they have agreed to terms with fifth overall pick Nick Gordon. The highly touted Gordon will head to Fort Myers, Fla. to participate in Twins mini-camp before joining the Rookie-level Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian League. That season begins on June 19.
Gordon, a high school shortstop out of Florida, is the son of longtime Major League closer Tom Gordon and the brother of current Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. He ranked fourth among draft prospects per ESPN’s Keith Law, fifth according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, and sixth according to Baseball America.
Scouts have praised Gordon’s speed, arm and glove as his best tools, noting that he’s a very good bet to remain at shortstop in pro ball. That doesn’t mean that he’s an all-glove prospect, however, as his bat has drawn high praise as well. Law noted that Gordon has “surprising power given his small frame; largely thanks to very strong wrists and above-average bat speed.” Mayo and Callis touched on Gordon’s ability to use the entire field at the plate, while BA called him an above-average hitter with doubles power that many scouts feel will grow into average home run power as he learns to pull the ball. MLBTR’s Zach Links spoke with Gordon prior to the draft as part of MLBTR’s Draft Prospect Q&A series.
Gordon was committed to Florida State, though the expectation was that he would sign out of the draft. He is the third consecutive Top 5 pick that the struggling Twins have had; Minnesota selected No. 1 overall prospect Byron Buxton with the second pick in the 2012 draft and picked right-hander Kohl Stewart with the No. 4 overall selection in last year’s draft. Gordon is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
MLBTR is re-launching its Draft Prospect Q&A series this season in order to give our readers a look at some of the top names on the board in this year’s draft. MLBTR will be chatting with some of the draft’s most well-regarded prospects over the next couple of weeks as they prepare for the 2014 draft on June 5-7.
Florida’s Nick Gordon is universally regarded as the best shortstop in the 2014 draft and, according to some, is the best position player prospect in the draft. With a pedigree like his, it’s no surprise. Gordon is the son of three-time All-Star right-hander Tom “Flash” Gordon and the younger brother of Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. While his father made his mark in the game and Dee continues to see his star rise, all signs point to Nick making a terrific legacy of his own in the years to come.
At 6’2″, 170, Gordon exhibits tremendous speed both on defense and around the base paths. Of course, he also boasts a terrific arm for the shortstop position and, in fact, many believe that he could pursue pitching if he wanted to. At the plate, the Olympia High School star projects to be an above-average hitter, but his intangibles and makeup have scouts drooling just as much as his physical tools.
In 27 games last season, Gordon, reportedly being advised by Beverly Hills Sports Council, which also represented father Tom “Flash” Gordon and represents brother Dee, posted an absurd slash line of .494/.576/.843 in 99 plate appearances and stole 13 bases. The youngster has had the attention of college scouts and pro scouts alike for years, but his senior season helped to boost his stock even further.
Gordon, ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the draft by ESPN.com’s Keith Law, No. 5 by MLB.com, and No. 7 by Baseball America, spoke with MLBTradeRumors late last week about the draft process, the possibility of going No. 1 overall, and what he’s learned from watching his father and brother:
Brady Aiken and Carlos Rodon have been mentioned the most frequently as potential options for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, but CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman expands on a rumor that has been picking up steam that could have the Astros cutting a deal with high school shortstop Nick Gordon (brother of Dee Gordon and son of Tom Gordon) in order to spend more heavily elsewhere. Heyman notes that it could very well be just a rumor, but it’s “stirring intrigue in baseball circles.” It wouldn’t be the first time that Houston cut a deal at 1-1, as just two years ago they elected to select Carlos Correa in order to later sign Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz to over-slot deals. One agent tells Heyman that he thinks Houston will look to cut a deal, with a second agent telling him the Astros are “all about the deal” and rival executives expressing that they simply can’t even guess what the Astros and GM Jeff Luhnow will do.
Here are several more draft-related links with the draft less than one week away…
- ESPN’s Keith Law tweets that he didn’t buy the Gordon/Astros rumor when he first heard it, and he’s still not a believer.
- Scout.com’s Kiley McDaniel tweets that the Gordon rumor is still alive and adds another to the mix, noting that the Blue Jays could reach and select Virginia righty Nick Howard as high as No. 11, while several other teams in the teens are kicking the tires on Howard. That would be quite the reach in comparison to the rankings of Howard by MLB.com (No. 75) and Law (No. 59). Baseball America is more bullish on Howard, ranking him 25th among draft prospects.
- Law appeared with ESPN’s Buster Olney on today’s Baseball Tonight Podcast to discuss a host of draft-related topics (Law appears from the 23:00 mark to the 45:00 mark). Law began by sharing a great deal from his experience with the Blue Jays’ front office, including the inner workings of a draft room, the unheralded successes of some area scouts and the change in decision-making processes as the draft progresses into the later rounds.
- Law also broke down the top of his most recent mock draft. In discussing the No. 5 pick (he has Gordon going to the Twins), he notes that Minnesota seems to be down to Gordon or LSU right-hander Aaron Nola. Law adds that he was on-hand for Nola’s most recent SEC start and saw executives from teams “from No. 2 on down,” including Marlins GM Dan Jennings, White Sox VP Kenny Williams and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. Law says the Twins have been targeting Gordon “all spring.”
- Law feels that if Aiken, Rodon and Kolek are all off the board, the Cubs will cut a deal at No. 4 and turn around to “crush pitching” with their next several picks. He currently has them selecting Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, who brings an element of plate discipline that their current top prospects lack. He adds that he could also see them cutting a deal with Nola, though he sees Nola as more of a mid-rotation starter (that could be in the bigs in a year’s time) than an ace.
- The White Sox selection of Kolek is “the lock” of the top five picks, says Law. He also adds that Marlins ownership has pushed strongly for Rodon due to his proximity to the Majors and marketability as a Cuban-American left-hander. Law calls his slider the best overall pitch in the draft. (Note that these bullets are a very brief summary, and those with heavy interest in the MLB draft will consider the Olney/Law segment time well spent upon listening to it in its entirety.)