Gordon found by Reds after life-altering choice

Fourth-round Draft pick grew up playing hockey and baseball, before encouraged to leave the ice

Gordon found by Reds after life-altering choice

CINCINNATI -- Throughout his childhood in Oakville, Ontario, Miles Gordon pursued his love of hockey and rose to the higher levels of the amateur system as a center. Gordon was gifted in another sport -- baseball -- and also had aspirations of playing at the highest level.

While in high school, baseball won out over hockey. That choice paid off on Tuesday, when Gordon -- a 17-year-old outfielder -- became a fourth-round pick of the Reds in the 2015 Draft.

"I quit hockey two years ago. My coaches told me if I wanted to take baseball to the next level, I needed to get rid of hockey," Gordon said. "It was the best decision I ever made. Without my baseball coaches, I would not have been in this position today."

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The past couple of baseball seasons while attending St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic High School, Gordon played amateur baseball for his local club -- the Oakville Royals. He moved on to play for the Great Lakes Canadians, a team that has former Major League outfielder Adam Stern as one of its coaches. Great Lakes plays in the same league as the Etobicoke Rangers, another Ontario team that produced Reds first baseman and 2002 second-round pick Joey Votto.

'15 Draft: Miles Gordon, CF

"[What] impresses me most about Miles is his maturity level," another Great Lakes coach, Craig Robinson, told Canada's IndependentSportsNews.com in December. "In talking with him on a regular basis, at times you forget he is a teenager. He is respectful, smart and an enjoyable kid to work with. Dad, Colin, and Mom, Tammy, have done a terrific job of raising him. We are proud to have him a part of what we do here and are excited to watch him reach the goals he has set out in this game in the future."

Gordon, a left-handed hitter who throws right-handed, didn't see his Draft prospects take off until last fall, when he was selected to play for Team Canada's junior national team. The squad spent time training in Florida and the Dominican Republic. He held his own at the plate against pro pitching from Dominican Rookie-level teams last month.

"We got in front of a lot of Major League eyes. We were constantly being seen," Gordon said.

Gordon met with and performed before scouts and had been talking with representatives of the Red Sox, Brewers and D-backs. He had not spoken as much with any Reds scouts, which left him surprised to wind up with Cincinnati on Tuesday.

"I was really caught off guard," said Gordon, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. "I was shocked but got really pumped up. It's pretty cool for a team under the radar to come up and pick me in a higher round.

"I was trying to hear over my mother screaming. She jumped up and down and started crying. I was trying to process it all as I was getting texts and tweets. It's very exciting."

Gordon has a commitment to play college baseball for the University of San Francisco, but he is expected to turn professional.

"I'm pretty set and excited to play for the Reds," he said. "I want to get my Minor League career going. I will talk it over with my parents and come up with a decision, and then on what to tell San Francisco. It's a great school, but this is a dream I've wanted since I was a kid."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.