Even with a strong core of middle infield prospects, could the Pittsburgh Pirates look to bolster that group with the addition of Nick Gonzales in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft?
When the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the clock if New Mexico State shortstop/second baseman Nick Gonzales is on the board there is a pretty good chance he will be the selection. So, let’s take a look at him in depth.
The very first thing that jumps out at me is man can this guy just absolutely rake. Gonzales absolutely dominated competition at New Mexico State University. Hitting for a career .399 average with 37 home runs and a .502 OBP. Standing at only 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds Gonzales possesses a simple swing that has true upside at the professional level.
While at New Mexico State, Gonzales walked 89 times in his career while striking out 79 times, so he also has nice patience at the plate usually waiting for something he can put in play. I’ve noticed he does a really good job of laying off the up-and-in pitches when pitchers try to paint the zone on him, and that’s a big plus I immediately noticed while watching tape.
Consistent is a good word for Gonzales when it comes to what kinda player he is, he’s hit above .300 in each of his three seasons at NMSU and even tore up greater competition in the Cape Cod League last summer.
For Gonzales, his 2020 season started off with historically good numbers as he smashed 12 home runs and was hitting .448 in just 16 games before the season was unfortunately cut short. Even on the base paths he has proven that he does it pretty well (13 career stolen bases), nothing crazy but he’s definitely not a liability out there. Proving that he is still only getting better, the 21-year-old is another guy I could see absolutely tearing up the minors on a quick path to the MLB level after being drafted.
Defensively he figures to be a true second baseman but we have seen him start at shortstop in 2020 as well. No matter where he was, Gonzales was again really consistent with the glove. Not anything special coming from that side of his game, but it’s not like he is by any means a “bad” fielder. Personally, I don’t see him being able to start at shortstop in the majors because of lack of range but he has the ability to play there from time to time if need be.
Overall Nick Gonzales would be a really nice addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates system even with the likes of Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker already at the Major League level, with top prospect Oneil Cruz right at the doorstep, and prospect Liover Peguero years away. However, it may come down to who the front office values more, Gonzales or one of the outfielders that figures to be on the board.