Among the 20 players honoured by the Great Lake Canadians as inaugural award winners for their accomplishments this season is Miles Gordon, selected as one of the organization’s two Alumni Award winners.
Choosing the finalists for the Great Lake awards was tough for the Canadians staff, but also a rewarding look back at the achievements of its teams, players and alumni from throughout the 2017 season, and Gordon’s third pro season was no exception.
After joining the Great Lake program for his final year of high school, and growing immensely throughout his tenure with the Canadians, as well as becoming a part of the Canadian Junior National Team, the young outfielder was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Cincinnati Reds and began his professional career that summer.
Battling injury woes through his first couple of pro seasons, the 20-year-old was healthy for his first full season with the advanced-rookie class Billings Mustangs in 2017. Through 61 games in the Pioneer League, Gordon hit .319/.389/.530 with eight home runs, 15 doubles, five triples, 27 walks, 40 runs scored, and 37 driven in.
“He had a great season,” GLC director of baseball operations Chris Robinson said. “It didn’t surprise us. He’s a really good player, and I still don’t think he’s anywhere close to where he’s going to be. We saw that when he first showed up to us and worked with Adam [Stern], it was almost like we were trying to tell him, ‘Let yourself be good,’ and there’s still a little bit of that to his game.
“Obviously there’s going to be a maturation process in professional baseball where you take your lumps, and it’s not like other sports where it’s out of high school and right to the highest level, so he’s going to deal with that climb. But for him to go out, his first year healthy, and have those numbers and be that type of force, that was exciting to follow.”
Since venturing off into the professional realm of baseball, Gordon continues to spend his off-seasons in London at Centrefield Sports, working with GLC coach and current SK Wyvern Jamie Romak and alongside other program alumni. The Oakville native not only continues to grow, but has also become a valued example for current Canadians.
“He’s such a great ambassador for us,” Robinson said. “The thing that I’m always really appreciative of a lot of our alumni is that they’re so involved. When Miles comes back, he’ll just sit there and ask us about everyone. His first day back he wanted to know everything, not just how the program is going but how this kid was doing and this kid and this kid. To me, that’s really cool, and it’s real.
“Having a guy like that in the professional world – and Nick Hamilton and Austin Shields and Adam Hall and all our alumni – is special. And the fact that Nick and Miles are here [at Centrefield] every day through the off-season makes a huge difference for the kids. And for us, it’s like we’re proud papas, having those guys back. Miles was extremely grateful, and he’s a very grateful person, and you can see that. He’s just appreciative of everything that we’ve done for him, even though he’s done it for himself.”
The relationship with the program is something that continues to help Gordon get better, as well as something Robinson believes will aid him in finding increased success as he moves forward in his career.
“The fact that those guys were able to really have that opportunity to work out with Jamie Romak day-to-day is huge,” the director of baseball operations said. “I look back to when I was their age, or when I was in my second year of professional baseball – I was driving to Guelph twice a week with Jamie to hit. Our off-season was hanging out with our buddies.
“These guys have such a structured program built by one of the most meticulously routine-oriented people I’ve ever met, and it’s expediting their learning curve years. I know Miles will say that it has a lot to do with it. With the exposure he has had to Jamie, he has developed a routine and a discipline that many players don’t develop until well into their careers. Baseball is a sport of repetition; those with a structured routine to follow and execute as consistently as possible are the guys who have success.”
Gordon is one of two GLC alumni to win this award after a successful 2017 season, honoured alongside Jake Wilson. While there were many candidates considered for the accolades, and the decisions were difficult for the Great Lake staff to make, the organization is proud to honour these players as members of the inaugural awards class and recognize their achievements throughout the year.