It's kind of neat that a guy nicknamed "Flash" had two kids who had blazing speed. The comic book nerd in me rejoices a little, you know?
Before we talk about Nick Gordon as Houston's top pick, let's discuss his brother, Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. After a rocky beginning to his career, Gordon has become an offensive force this year. He's already stolen 34 bases for the Dodgers and posted a WAR of 1.4 to this point of the season. His bat doesn't provide much power and he doesn't walk a ton. His defense, too, has been just average.
So, to generate that kind of value, he has to be just exceptional on the bases. Dee Gordon does that. It's why he's starting for the Dodgers now.
Little brother Nick, the second son of former major league reliever Tom Gordon, has a similar skill set to his big brother. Nick is fast. Nick has a decent bat. Nick is a god runner. Unlike his brother, Nick's strongest draftable trait may be his defense.
You draft Nick Gordon at the top of this draft for two reasons. First, you draft him because he'll stick at shortstop. He's got phenomenal arm strength and good range. Plus, teams will never go wrong drafting up the middle talent.
If his defense holds up, Nick Gordon could become like Billy Hamilton or Adam Everett. If you can hang one elite skill onto a position of importance, teams will find a way to play you. So, if Gordon can be an elite fielder and have enough speed to steal 40-50 bases a year? He could play a long time at short for some team.
But, you say, what about Carlos Correa? What about Jonathan Villar? What about any other shortstop in the system? Why draft a third guy at a position that's already crowded.
Well, the answer is simple. Having three shortstops isn't a bad thing. Look at what the Dodgers did, moving Gordon to another spot. Look at what the Marlins did with Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes or what the Yankees did with A-Rod and Jeter. Having three shortstop-level defenders on an infield just increases your defensive skill. It's a good problem to have.
The other reason Houston should draft Gordon is simpler. It's all about money. While Gordon will be a top pick, no one ever projected him to be the top pick overall. It's just recently that his name surfaced. So, let's say Houston approached him with a deal for $2 million below slot value. He could take it, become a first overall pick and still get paid handsomely.
The Astros can then take the savings and spend it at 1-37 or 2-1 to nab a player who falls.
Some drafts have transcendent players at the top. This is not one of those years. So, wouldn't you rather Houston settle for a talent who could be a solid major leaguer for 10 or 15 years, especially if he came at a discount? With the bust rate in the draft, taking a sure thing seems like a very sound decision.