Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Nick Gonzales on his Time in Altoona

The Pittsburgh Pirates first round draft pick got a chance to jump into the organization this year.  He spent a good portion of his summer playing in Altoona.

The Pittsburgh Pirates used their seventh overall pick on New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales.  Gonzales was considered one of the best position players in the 2020 Draft Class and many experts felt the Bucs were getting a steal at number seven overall.  The Pittsburgh Pirates showed Gonzales just how much they think of him by immediately sending him to the Altoona Camp to workout with the team’s other top prospects.  Gonzales was nice enough to take some time and discuss how the year went for him:

Entering your first taste of professional baseball, what were your initial thoughts?

My first thoughts of pro ball were pretty close to what I thought it was going to be, having friends who have played pro ball and can give me ideas.  But my first initial thought was just how fortunate I was to be doing what I love everyday as a job.

In other years this would have been a big transition, but this year even more so.  What were some of the initial challenges in joining the group in Altoona due to the pandemic?

The biggest challenges I had to face were getting comfortable with a new group of coaches and players that were new to me.  They are such great people that the transition was not hard for me.

Typically you would find yourself playing Short Season A ball or Low A ball out of the draft.  This year, once again was different, what was it like walking into the Altoona camp?

It was a great experience to go to Altoona playing against great competition and learning from the best in our organization.  I really enjoyed seeing where I stacked up to our organization’s best and really enjoyed my opportunity.

What was your biggest challenge at camp this year?  Obviously a lot of good talent there.

I think my biggest challenge was just getting used to the pro ball experience and being able to tell a coach what I would like to work on versus them telling me what they want me to do.

What would you say was your area of biggest growth from your time in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization so far?  What were some of your take always from Altoona?

I think I have made huge strides on defense since my college season with the help of Gary Green and Jamey Carroll.  I have been able to work on playing all around second base and getting comfortable with different angles and ways to attack ground balls.  Some takeaways from Altoona that I have is that I want to be back there playing again soon!  I loved it so much and the stadium is unbelievable and from what I heard the fans are great too.

Next: Pirates Sign Pitching Prospect Dotel

Once again thanks to Nick Gonzales for taking the time to share how his first year went.  It is always great to get insight from players on what they are doing to get better.  Gonzales obviously is a very driven player who is going to continue and push to make the most of this opportunity.  Be sure to listen to our next podcast as we will have Nick Gonzales on as a guest.