Twins General Manager Terry Ryan introduced Nick Gordon, the Twins’ first-round draft pick, at a news conference Monday. Gordon’s dad, Tom, was nicknamed “Flash” during his playing days, but Nick might take over that nickname based on the speed with which he signed with his new team.
Ryan was asked about Gordon, a shortstop, adding organizational depth in the middle infield. Ryan acknowledged that it’s improving, but he also noted that while many of us focus on the first-round picks in the draft, true depth comes from other sources. We were struck by the sentiment when we went back and looked at the Twins lineup Monday night in Toronto — a true exercise in the many ways players are acquired and/or developed:
1) Danny Santana: amateur free agent, 2007; 2) Brian Dozier: eighth-round pick, 2009; 3) Joe Mauer: first overall pick, 2001; 4) Josh Willingham: free agent, 2012; 5) Oswaldo Arcia: amateur free agent, 2007; 6) Kendrys Morales: free agent, 2014; 7) Trevor Plouffe: first-round pick, 2004; 8) Kurt Suzuki: free agent, 2014; 9) Eduardo Escobar: acquired in Francisco Liriano trade, 2012.
So in the lineup, the Twins had two amateur free agents in Santana and Arcia who have been with the organization since they were very young. They had two former first-round picks in Mauer and Plouffe, who had enough talent coming out of amateur baseball to be regarded that highly. They had an eighth-round pick in Dozier, more of a project who developed through the minors. They had three free agents, added to bolster the drafted talent (including Morales, who was acquired over the weekend and made a somewhat surprising debut Monday). And they had Escobar, who came over via trade.
Still, first-round picks are the gold standard. Since Mauer and in addition to Plouffe, the Twins also have chosen Glen Perkins, Kyle Gibson, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton in the first round. Perkins and Gibson are major parts of the current pitching staff. Revere and Span were traded, respectively, for Trevor May and Alex Meyer, the future of the starting staff. Hicks and Buxton could be part of the outfield of the future.
It’s hard to project where Gordon will fit into this mix, but he was the No. 5 overall pick and his bloodlines are strong. There is a reasonable chance that by the end of the decade, Gordon could be a mainstay at Target Field.