Nick Gordon Adds Power To His Game

Best Player

The Twins were ecstatic when a bigger, stronger Nick Gordon began throwing his newfound weight around in 2016, racking up 32 extra-base hits in a full season as the shortstop at high Class A Fort Myers.

So imagine their excitement when the 2014 first-rounder—the fifth overall selection—exceeded that number by midseason this year at Double-A Chattanooga while batting .308/.378/.477 in 73 games.

Actually, the most excited observer isn’t even part of the organization.

“He’s already a lot bigger and stronger than me when I was 21,” said Dee Gordon, the Marlins’ all-star second baseman and older half-brother of Nick. “He’s got a good eye, and you can already see he’s going to develop some power. Hopefully, the Twins have got themselves a gem.”

It certainly looks that way. The Southern League’s extra-base hits leader, Gordon already had hit six home runs this season, which is more than he hit in his previous three seasons (and 293 games) combined.

Biggest Leap Forward

The big ballparks, heavy air and prime-time pitching of the Florida State League are an acquired taste. Third baseman Chris Paul finally acquired it.

The 24-year-old California product slumped early at Fort Myers in 2016 and never recovered. A 2015 sixth-round pick, Paul hit just .167/.239/.244 in his first three weeks a year ago, with 21 strikeouts and 13 hits—and he allowed it to swallow his entire season.

“It can be hard to dig yourself out, especially in that league,” vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said. “He wasn’t going to let that happen again.”

Quite the opposite, in fact. Armed with experience as he repeated the high Class A level, Paul smacked a hit in 16 of his first 18 games and planted himself firmly among the league’s best hitters.

Through 49 games he hit .351/.402/.495 with three home runs. He led the FSL batting race and ranked third for on-base percentage.

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