Southern League notebook

Gordon flashing talent after jumping straight to Double-A

Chattanooga shortstop Dee Gordon is batting .354 after 16 games. (Paul R. Gierhart/

By Guy Curtright / Special to | April 27, 2010 6:00 AM ET

If there were any concerns about shortstop Dee Gordon being able to handle the jump to Double-A from the low Class A Midwest League, they certainly didn't last long.

The top Dodgers prospect had two hits in his third game with Chattanooga and was 4-for-4 with three doubles in his fourth, quickly showing that he was ready for the Southern League.

A trio of three-hit outings has followed, with the 2008 fourth-round Draft choice posting a .354 average in his first 16 games with the Lookouts.

Gordon, ranked as's No. 36 prospect, may not have much baseball experience, but he's obviously a quick learner.

"You just have to tell him things one time," Chattanooga manager Carlos Subero said. "He's very receptive and wants to learn. There is more to work on, but he's coming very fast."

Gordon, who turned 22 on April 22, knows he is playing catchup. Despite being the son of long-time Major League reliever Tom Gordon, he's new to the game.

In fact, Gordon had played the sport so little before being drafted that his first baseball card lists him as a pitcher, like his father.

"A lot of people made that mistake," Gordon said.

The Florida native has always been a shortstop, though, even if it was just for one season in high school and another at a small college.

An ultra-slender 5-foot-11, Gordon wasn't big enough for big-time basketball. But his lack of size hasn't proven to be a hindrance in baseball at all.

Impressed by Gordon's speed and athleticism in workouts, the Dodgers gave him a $250,000 bonus and he has quickly made the investment seem like a smart one.

DeJon Watson, the Dodgers' assistant GM for player development, may have been Tom Gordon's former Minor League roommate, but there was no favoritism at work here.

Gordon hit .331 for Ogden of the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2008, and followed that up with a .301 average and 72 stolen bases for Great Lakes in the Midwest League a year ago.

Suddenly, he was at the top of the Dodgers' prospect list.

"It's a big jump to Double-A from low Class A, but he has so much athletic ability," Subero said. "I think he's right on schedule in his development so far."

Gordon made five errors in his first eight games, but none in the next eight. It took just three games for the left-handed hitter to move into the leadoff spot with Chattanooga and he had six extra-base hits, including a homer, to go with four stolen bases.

"It feels good to being moving up and I'm glad I was able to get off to a decent start here," Gordon said. "I'm not trying to rush things. I know I still have a lot to learn. But I have confidence in my ability."

Gordon is also happy to be playing relatively close to home for the first time and not just because his family will get more chances to see him.

"It's nice to play where it's warm at the start of the season," he said. "It was really cold last year."

In brief

Hit machine: It was easy to see why Tennessee got off to a 14-3 start. The Smokies were hitting .302 as a team and had scored 119 runs. Tennessee had three players among the league leaders in average with outfielder Tony Campana at .397, catcher Robinson Chirinos at .383 and shortstop Starlin Castro at .382, and outfielder Ty Wright had a league-best 20 RBIs, including seven in one game.

Power barrage: Mike Wilson led the circuit with seven homers and fellow West Tenn outfielder Carlos Peguero was tied for second with six. Wilson hit four home runs over a four-game stretch and Peguero homered in three consecutive games. West Tenn had 25 homers -- 12 better than the next best team.

Moving up: The league lost its leading hitter when Huntsville catcher Jonathon Lucroy was promoted to Triple-A Nashville by the Brewers. He hit .452 in 10 games with the Stars and had a .500 on-base percentage. Lucroy hadn't been Huntsville's only hot hitter, though. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain was batting .380.

Change of scenery: Mississippi third baseman Eric Duncan, a former first-round Draft choice by the Yankees, was hitting .400 and had 13 RBIs in 16 games after being signed by the Braves as a Minor League free agent. Duncan finished a fourth consecutive season in Triple-A last year, but hit just .204 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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