Offseason Prospect Review: Tanner Gordon

Monday, November, 15, 2021

-Clint Manry

The offseason is here and it’s a perfect time to recap the 2021 season of each of the Braves top 30 prospects. In this series, I’ll discuss each player’s performance from this past year, as well as what’s needed for them to continue to rise in the organization. All rankings are derived from my most-recent 2021 Braves Top 30 Prospect List, which came out this past August. Following this series, a fresh top 30 will be constructed, primarily based on the notes I’ll provide in this column.

Previous reviews

  • Jefrey Ramos, OF (link)
  • Brandol Mezquita, OF (link)
  • Cody Milligan, 2B (link)
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B/DH (link)

#26. Tanner Gordon, RHP

24-years-old

2021 stats (A / A+):  108.1 IP, 3.90 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9

Trend:  Up

The future looks extremely bright for Gordon, who, after struggling a bit at first in High-A Rome to begin 2021, wound up putting together an excellent campaign in his first taste of A-ball. After posting a 5.32 ERA in 22 innings with the R-Braves to begin the season, the righty was sent down to Single-A Augusta, and from there he flourished, averaging over 10 strikeouts per nine and posting a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts. By mid-August, Gordon was back in Rome and featured in my midseason Top 30.

At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, this is a kid that could have a very bright future once he puts it all together on the mound. The Indiana University product was a sixth-round pick by the Braves back in 2019, and with a mid-90s MPH fastball, to go with an above average breaking ball, Gordon could very well evolve into yet another top-tier arm in the system. At this point, with him just now breaking into full-season ball, the next season or two will be huge for his stock as a prospect.

2022 outlook

In 2021, Gordon really struggled when he had traffic on the base paths, posting dramatically worse numbers with runners on, compared to bases empty.

  • Bases empty:  288 PA, .211 AVG, .603 OPS
  • Runners on:  155 PA, .307 AVG, .844 OPS

A little bit of disparity between the two isn’t bad, but a whopping 239 points in OPS is a rather stark difference when it comes to performing with runners on. Gordon will definitely need to clean that up as he progresses within the Braves minor league system.

Speaking of progressing through the system: given Gordon needed a stint in Single-A to get settled in this past year, it would probably be more beneficial for him to spend at least a half-season in High-A again. The Braves still have quite a bit of depth when it comes to prospect starters, and there’s no need to rush anyone. However, with Gordon now entering his age-24 campaign, reaching Double-A in 2022 seems pretty dire. If starting is still in the cards, a continuation of what he provided last season will go a long way.

Either way, though, so far Gordon is progressing nicely. In 21 career minor league starts, to go with 14 relief appearances (or 132.2 total innings), the right-hander sports a 3.60 ERA, while also maintaining solid K/BB rates (9.8 K/9, 2.2 BB/9). It will certainly be interesting to see what his stock looks like this time next year, because another strong campaign as a starter (with perhaps some strong showings at the Double-A level), could push Gordon in the top-15 range.

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