Hardman, Gordon win AFL weekly awards

November 9th, 2022

The Arizona Fall League is winding down but the strong performances aren't. Despite a short week due to the league's Home Run Derby and Fall Stars Game over the weekend, the Yankees' Tyler Hardman and Astros' Colton Gordon took home some hardware.

Hardman was named the AFL’s NFP Hitter of the Week with Mesa, while Gordon took home NFP Pitcher of the Week honors with Surprise.

Hardman hits it hard, man

Exit velocity isn't available outside of Salt River in the AFL, but look no further than the infielder's last name for the kind of hurt he's been putting on the ball in Arizona. Hardman hit safely in all three games he played in for the Solar Sox last week, with a pair of multihit games mixed in. In total, the 23-year-old hit .429 (6-for-14) with three home runs, good for a 1.572 OPS. 

Two of those long balls, however, came on Friday in a standout power display from the corner infielder. Hardman left the yard in his first at-bat of the afternoon in the second inning and did it again in the sixth.

“First at-bat of the day, you can’t get much more confidence than a homer,” he told MLB.com's Sam Dykstra after the game. “We talk about it a lot in the dugout. A hard hit in your first at-bat gives you house money the rest of the day.”

Confidence hasn't been an issue for Hardman this year. After hitting 22 home runs for High-A Hudson Valley during the regular season, he's belted five more for Mesa -- putting him one off the league lead -- while hitting .333 overall.

Gordon gets it done

It's been a solid week for Gordon. The 23-year-old collected the penultimate AFL Pitcher of the Week Award just days after his parent organization secured the World Series crown.

While they're celebrating in Houston, Gordon is working toward joining them in the future. He's had his fair share of ups and downs through five starts for the Saguaros, owning a 6.38 ERA, but his most recent outing was certainly one of his best. He allowed two runs over five innings but struck out eight, his highest total in the Fall League.

While Gordon has surrendered his fair share of hits -- 21 in 18 1/3 innings -- he's been impressive at avoiding free passes, issuing just three walks overall. The No. 24 Astros prospect walked just eight batters in 53 2/3 innings during the Minor League season, his first as a professional as he worked his way back from the Tommy John surgery that he had before being picked in the eighth round of the 2021 Draft.