After 164 games at Double-A over the last 13 months, Nick Gordon will be taking on a new level of competition.
The Twins' No. 4 prospect has been promoted to Triple-A Rochester and could make his International League debut as early as Tuesday at Lehigh Valley.
Gordon has produced a .333/.381/.525 line with five homers, two triples, 10 doubles and seven steals over 42 games with Double-A Chattanooga this season.
His reassignment to the Southern League was a bit of a surprise when the season opened. The 22-year-old shortstop played a full season with the Lookouts in 2017 and set new career highs with a .341 on-base percentage, .408 slugging percentage, nine home runs and .749 OPS over 122 games -- numbers that suggested he was ready for a new level on Opening Day 2018. However, Gordon was kept back at Double-A, where he continued to improve his power and contact rate. His .525 slugging percenatge is third-highest in the Southern League and he's cut his strikeout rate from 23.2 percent in 2017 to 14.9 this season.
Video: Lookouts' Gordon goes downtown
The fifth overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Gordon has methodically worked his way up the Minnesota ladder. He lacks a single superlative tool, but he's considered an above-average hitter with solid defensive grades on his glove and arm. His power was the only tool to be given a grade below 50 on the 20-80 scouting scale from MLB.com before the season, before his recent slugging surge.
Gordon has mostly played shortstop again this season but has made six starts at second base. Right now, the Twins have a bigger Major League need at short, but that will change when Jorge Polanco returns from his performance-enhancing-drug-related suspension late next month. That could mean Gordon, who is not on the 40-man roster, could be in Rochester for a bit, but if the AL Central-chasing Twins decide they can't rely on Ehire Adrianza and his .541 OPS much longer, it's possible that MLB.com's No. 76 overall prospect could move again quickly.