Wilmington Blue Rocks right-hander Derek Gordon carries a famous last name when it comes to the KC Royals.
However, that is where the similarities end (Derek told me he’s never heard that him and his brother look alike, but I do see some similarities).
His older brother Alex is a three-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove Award winner after being a first round pick back in 2005. He plays left field and stands at just 6’1 and weighing in at 220 (according to the Royals roster page).
Meanwhile, Derek is a pitcher and stands at 6’6 (though he also comes in at 220). He signed out of independent ball (the T-Bones) in February of 2015 and was not drafted.
Does Derek ever feel any extra pressure playing in the same organization as his brother?
“Not really. I get that question a lot. I try not to put too much pressure on me, but I’m always going to have that relation, especially now that he’s a lifetime Royal.”
Derek also doesn’t follow Alex’s pregame routines or diets. You can read more about Alex’s strict diet and routine by clicking HERE.
“I’m a little more relaxed especially in the pregame ritual routine. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s very to the point, every single day. At the same time every day. We play two separate positions. I have to be more adjustable that that.”
Derek began his professional career in independent ball and is now in his second season in the Royals organization.
“Everybody was the best on their team, especially when you get to this level,” Derek said when asked about the difference between indy ball and Wilmington. “Playing rookie ball, there were a lot of younger guys and I was a little bit older. With independent ball, a lot of guys were 30 years old, on the back half of their career, but still a lot of talent. It wasn’t nearly the talent we are playing against in the Carolina League.”
Derek began his Royals career last season when he was assigned to rookie level Idaho Falls. There he started all 13 games he pitched in, going 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA. Opponents hit .271 against him with eight home runs. He walked just 18 in 70 innings while striking out 65.
This year, he was pushed to High-A Wilmington and has made two starts out of his 12 appearances. Opponents are hitting .276 against, but he has walked just six in 25 innings compared to 25 strikeouts. He (like every other pitcher with the Blue Rocks) has a high ERA (6.12).
Does he have a preference between starting or relieving? “I pitched in the starting rotation last year. I pitched out of the bullpen my first spring training and I pitched out of the bullpen in independent ball. So I’m used to both. I like both. I just like pitching.”
Is it a tough adjustment going back and forth? “Like Jamie [Quirk] said, our job is to get outs regardless of what our role is.”
Who would win a wiffle game between Alex and Derek?
“I’ll let you guys decide. I’m not going to say.”
You can watch the entire interview with Gordon below: