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Astros’ Prospect Colton Gordon Starts in WBC

Astros Prospect Colton Gordon with Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic
Team Israel

MIAMI, FL – There was an historic pitching performance in Tuesday’s World Baseball Classic matchup between Israel and Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately for the Astros’ tenth ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, Colton Gordon, he pitched on the losing side.  While four pitchers for Puerto Rico combined to throw the first perfect game in WBC history against the Israeli side, Gordon struggled against Puerto Rico’s star-studded lineup.  

Two batters into his outing, Gordon looked every bit the part of a top organizational prospect.  He induced major league mainstays Francisco Lindor and Kiké Hernandez into weak contact for two quick outs.  The left-handed Gordon flashed command of a fastball sitting 90-92 mph and a sweeping breaking ball that he threw to both sides of the plate.  However, what started as a promising outing got away from the Astros farmhand.  

Gordon walked Royals’ catcher/outfielder MJ Melendez on just four pitches, and things unraveled quickly from there.  Gordon lost his typical command of both his fastball and his breaking ball, which allowed him to pitch to an incredible strikeout to walk ratio of 78:8 over 53.2 innings in his first season as a professional in 2022, reaching Class High-A Asheville by the end of the season.  Diamondbacks’ corner infielder Emmanuel Rivera followed with a clean single through the left side, and two-time All-Star Javy Báez ripped a double into the left field corner, driving in two runs for Puerto Rico.  2021 NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario hit a double of his own off the base of the center field wall, scoring the third run for Puerto Rico.  Gordon walked Cubs’ outfielder Nelson Velázquez before Neftali Soto mercifully flew out to left field, ending the inning.  

Israel’s Manager, Ian Kinsler, gave Gordon an opportunity to regroup, allowing him to start the second inning against Astros’ backstop Martín Maldonado.  Maldonado laced a single to left field, and Gordon’s night was done.  Maldonado eventually came around to score, closing the book on Gordon’s outing.  All told, Gordon pitched 1+ inning, allowing 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, taking the loss in Israel’s 10-0 defeat against Puerto Rico.  

This outing, while rough, can serve as a valuable learning experience for Gordon.  Entering the bottom of the second inning, the Fox broadcast noted that Gordon appeared to be tipping his pitches when he was in the stretch, bringing his setpoint closer to his head when he threw a fastball and allowing the setpoint to stray a bit further away when he threw his breaking ball.  These are the fine details that major league hitters are trained to see.  And so, despite the loss, Gordon can take away some valuable lessons from this outing when he returns to the Astros’ system at the end of Israel’s run in the World Baseball Classic.  Gordon, at 24 years old, looks to build on a solid 2022 and rise through the system in 2023.

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