MIAMI – Nick Gordon on Sunday became the first Twins prospect to contribute a base hit in the All-Star Futures Game since 2014. He also became the first member of his own family to collect one since 2010.
Gordon, chosen fifth overall by the Twins in the 2014 draft, lined a sharp single to center field in the fourth inning off Yankees pitching prospect Domingo Acevedo, and scored two batters later on a double by Astros outfield prospect Derek Fisher, helping propel the United States team to a 7-6 victory over the World team at Marlins Park.
“I was a little bit nervous, but it was fun, more than anything,” Gordon admitted about playing in the same ballpark that his brother, two-time All-Star Dee Gordon, appears in daily as a member of the Miami Marlins. “Being close to home, a lot of my family got to come out and see the game. It was definitely a great time, man.”
His brother was in San Francisco playing the Giants, so Dee didn’t get to see his 21-year-old sibling, the shortstop for the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts, try to match him by collecting a base hit. And after Nick Gordon grounded out in the first inning, then popped up in the second, the U.S. team’s leadoff hitter might have been feeling some pressure as he came to bat in the fourth inning.
Didn’t matter. After Brendan Rodgers, a Rockies second base prospect, opened the inning with a first-pitch single, Gordon wasted no time doing the same, lacing Acevedo’s 95-mile-per-hour fastball onto the All-Star logo adorning the center field turf.
“I was just thinking, ‘Be aggressive. These guys throw hard,’ ” Gordon said. “You can’t really give them pitches. You get down 0-2 [or] 1-2, they’re really good at what they do. I want to give myself the best chance.”
Milwaukee outfield prospect Lewis Brinson followed with an 0-1 double to center, scoring Rodgers, and Gordon and Brinson both scored when Derek Fisher, an Astros minor leaguer who played in five major league games last month, doubled on a 1-0 pitch, opening the United States’ lead to 7-0.
“What’s really great about that is they compete against one another, but it helps them make each other better,” said Tom Gordon, father of Dee and Nick and a three-time All-Star pitcher during his own 21-year major league career. “It’s a great feel to see them work to make themselves, and each other, better in this game.”
The team of American-born players scored in each of the first four innings to open that big lead, then held on as the foreign-born team of prospects scored in each of the next three, then two more runs in the ninth to threaten the seventh U.S. victory in eight years.
Not since Kennys Vargas singled in Target Field three years earlier had a position player from the Twins organization appeared in the Futures Game. Gordon, who owns 33 extra-base hits this year, including a Southern League-leading six triples, joins Vargas, Oswaldo Arcia in 2012 and Rene Tosoni in 2009 as players from the Twins system to have a base hit in the past decade.
Each of those past participants was playing in Target Field within a year or two. Will Gordon be there soon, too?
“I don’t think he’s too far away,” said Tom Gordon. “The only thing now is the maturation, gaining some size. And then the mental toughness of playing every single day for 162 ballgames. The grind is what you need to learn, and he’s learning it.”