Nick Gordon knows the numbers.
After jumping out to a blazing .338 start in his first 17 games with Rochester in late May, the Twins’ No. 3 prospect — not to mention No. 74 overall — has struggled at the plate.
Gordon, the son of former Major League pitcher Tom Gordon and the brother of the Mariners’ Dee Gordon, hit .183 in July and .179 in his first 17 games in August to give him a .211 average in 83 Triple-A contests.
“Obviously, it’s not my best season, but this is something that I can work through,” Gordon said. “All great players go through bumps in the road. This has been a learning experience for me. It’s something that I’m taking both the best and the worst from — and learning from.”
Rochester manager Joel Skinner is also aware of the numbers but said Gordon’s development is about more than statistics.
“This is his first taste of Triple-A baseball,” Skinner said. “His numbers, you’d like them to be better than they are, but he’s on track, and that’s the most important thing. This level is about adjusting, whether it’s pitch recognition or getting yourself into better counts to hit. He’s got a lot of ability, but there’s a bit of a growing process when you get your first taste of Triple-A.”
Gordon started the season at Double-A Chattanooga, the level at which he played last season. But the 6-foot, 160-pound infielder did not sulk; instead, he earned a promotion by batting .333 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 42 games.
“I had a uniform on, that’s all I can ask for,” Gordon said. “I was never disappointed by [starting in Double-A].”
Now he said he’s still learning how to make adjustments against the more experienced players he battles each day in the IL.
“You play against guys who are smarter and more experienced in the game [than you find at lower levels],” he explained. “At every level, you have to learn the game and adjust to the game. I’m learning how to make adjustments quicker.”
Gordon also is making an adjustment to playing second base, having seen action in 25 games at that position as well as 58 at shortstop.
“He’s played a little second base so he can add that to his tool belt,” Skinner said.
But the Rochester manager also preaches patience when evaluating the development of the 22-year-old middle infielder.
“You’d love for it to happen overnight, but development is a process,” he said. “You try to expedite it and try to make the process as efficient as possible. But he is putting his time in. … You have to have patience with young players. It takes time.”
And hard work, Gordon added.
“I just want to go out every day and make sure I get better,” he said. “Whatever level I’m at, whatever position I’m at, I just want to learn and become the best I can be.”
The “K” kid: Charlotte RHP Michael Kopech won his last three starts for the Knights and was unbeaten since July 5 before getting his first big league callup. In August, the 22-year-old had a 1.35 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 20 innings. For the season, Kopech was 7-7 with a 3.70 ERA and leads the IL with 170 strikeouts and 12.11 strikeouts per nine innings.
Making a name for himself: Louisville’s Gabriel Guerrero is not as well-known as his cousin, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Buffalo third baseman and MLB.com’s top overall prospect. But the 24-year-old outfielder has 16 homers, 55 RBIs and 53 runs scored in 91 games, giving him the team lead in all three categories. And Gabriel Guerrero has arguably the best outfield arm in the IL, with 11 assists in 89 games.
He said it: “Knowing myself might be my biggest asset, in my opinion. I’m not trying to do anything out of my skill set and I’m just learning every day. I make sure if a coach or instructor tells me something, they don’t have to tell me twice. I think that’s really important.” –Toledo outfielder Jacob Robson to The (Toledo) Blade. Since his promotion to the Mud Hens in late June, Robson has hit .310 with three homers, 11 RBIs and 31 runs scored in 43 games.
He said it, version 2.0: “I was able to command my fastball really well and showed some off-speed behind in the count, and I stayed out of the middle of the zone. … I just stick with the same stuff until they make an adjustment. And if they don’t make an adjustment, I just keep throwing the same things.” –Gwinnett RHP Bryse Wilson to the Gwinnett Daily Post. The Braves’ No. 13 prospect allowed one hit and broke the franchise record with 13 strikeouts over eight shutout innings on Aug. 15 against Louisville. Wilson has won his first three starts for the Stripers but has a 4.50 ERA after giving up five homers — to go with 24 strikeouts — in his first 20 innings.
John Wagner is a contributor to MiLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.