Nick Gordon Is Crushing His Opportunity To Shine In Minnesota

Nick Gordon Is Crushing His Opportunity To Shine In Minnesota

This guy Nick Gordon can play some baseball, the Twins have a talented player and should keep him around

In his first MLB season, Gordon is starting to make a name for himself. Recently, the Minnesota Twins outfielder has seen more of the field due to the injury of Byron Buxton.

When your name is called, you want to make sure you deliver and Gordon has done that multiple times this season.

Gordon has had an impressive June so far. He started the month with a four-game hitting streak. During that streak, he hit .437 with two runs scored, two RBI, and a home run.

 

 

He had his best game of the season during that streak as well. On June 4, the Twins took on the Kansas City Royals and Gordon was one of the best players on the field that night.

Gordon went 3-for-4 and hit his first home run of the season. Heightening the moment was the fact that his father (former MLB pitcher, Tom “Flash” Gordon) was there to witness his performance. 

 

 

While his father was in attendance, all Nick could focus on was the game.

“I actually didn’t see him,” he told MLB.com. “I didn’t see him the entire game. I’m not really sure where he was sitting at. That’s usually not too hard to find. I usually find him. But I was kind of focused today. Kind of got on the field and really didn’t look up too much.”

Tom Gordon was excited to have the opportunity to watch his son play in an MLB game and it certainly won’t be the last time he attends a game.

“I want every ball he hits out of the park,” Tom Gordon said. “I want every ball to be hit hard. He sure better not make an error, because then I’m fussing about that. I think that comes with it. As much as I love it, I appreciate it.

“At the same time, I appreciate how much his teammates and friends and family, everybody that’s here, love him.”

When Nick hit his first home run, he didn’t know if it was going to go out or not. One thing he did know was that he got a good swing on the ball.

Hitting your first major league home run is a tremendous accomplishment, and it only took Gordon five games to hit his first.

“I wasn’t expecting to hit a homer,” he said. “I definitely didn’t off the bat think it was going to go that far. I just thought I got it pretty good and I looked up and it was gone. It felt pretty good.”

The 25-year-old has definitely given the Twins’ coaching staff multiple reasons to keep him in the lineup.

Speed kills, and for Nick, it works to his advantage. On the base path, he’s definitely a threat and can cause problems for defenses. He has five stolen bases on the season and that number will continue to increase as the season progresses. 

The Twins can utilize him in the infield and outfield, and with his legs, he can track balls down in the outfield and take away hits.

If he keeps playing the way he has been playing this month, he will continue to see the field and have opportunities to become a player the Twins can use on a consistent basis.

Keynan Middleton Looks to Power Soul Revival in Mariners Bullpen

Keynan Middleton Looks to Power Soul Revival in Mariners Bullpen

Reliever Keynan Middleton is back, and the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen has to be happy.

Middleton, who had been out since May 5 with a strained bicep, looked strong in his return on Friday night against the San Diego Padres. In fact, the righthander looked a lot like the budding young talent the Mariners had hoped to be getting this offseason.

Middleton pitched one scoreless inning with a walk in a losing effort for the Mariners. But his strong appearance is another sign that the promising pitcher is returning to pre-Tommy John form. 

 

 

Once dubbed the closer of the future for the Los Angeles Angels organization, Middleton has shown flashes of dominance out the pen.

During the 2020 season, the average velocity of his fastball returned to pre-TJ form (97.1) while he had also added four mph to his slider and changeup. Despite his return to form physically, the Angels decided to cut ties with the promising reliever this offseason, which led to the Oregon native heading back to the Pacific Northwest.

Now in Seattle, Middleton has been able to showcase the velocity and spin that many in the Angels’ organization were unsure was back for good. 

 

 

As a result of his recent success, many around the Mariners’ organization think he may force manager Scott Servais into a tough decision.

“The returned fastball velocity is one thing — Middleton probably needs it if he hopes to be a solid reliever,” writes SB Nation’s Michael Ajeto. “But an improved slider is his second prerequisite if he hopes to exist in the form of a potent, dominant reliever … If Middleton continues to surge with his fastball velocity and slider, he may add to that. And within a matter of weeks, that may mean putting Rafael Montero out of a job.”

The Black Relief Pitcher

The emergence of Middleton as a dominant reliever would place him amongst a very small distinguished group. The majority of conversations surrounding the lack of Black pitchers in the major league have focused strictly on starting pitching, but there has been little attention given to the lack of Black relief pitchers.  

We rightfully speak of the Black Aces with reverence, but when we begin to speak of legendary Black relievers, most fans simply don’t know where to begin. We remember names like Flash Gordon and Lee Smith, but that’s where most conversations end. 

READ MORE: Hank Aaron Invitational Coaches Reflect on Legacy of 2019 Hall of Famer Lee Smith

This lack of representation in bullpens across the sport is why Middleton’s resurgence is so important. Gordon and Smith are both Top 100 all-time in saves, yet are barely mentioned when we speak of the greatest relievers of all time. 

 

 

At just 27 years old, Middleton has the potential to build a reputation as one of the best relievers in the game. Boasting a 3.86 ERA with a .86 WHIP in 11 2/3 innings, all the tools are there. 

Only time will tell if he can put it all together, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on him here at MLBbro.com.