Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Top 5 Prospects at the End of 2021
By Noah Wright
Number 3 – Infielder Nick Gonzales
The Pittsburgh Pirates could have a third former first-round pick in their top 3 organizational prospects in Nick Gonzales. Again, he could easily be the team’s best prospect as the first three players are as interchangeable as you can get.
The team selected Gonzales with the 7th overall selection in 2020’s draft. Gonzales absolutely mashed in college. He batted .399/.502/.747 with 37 home runs, 39 doubles and .510 wOBA through 596 trips to the plate. He rarely struckout with a 13.3% strikeout rate, but walked a ton, at a 14.9% clip. Sure, it was at a hitter friendly level, but he put many doubts to rest when he hit .340/.439/.610 with a .400 wOBA in 190 plate appearances. His plate discipline was still good at the Cape Cod League with a 10.5% walk rate and 13.2% strikeout rate.
Gonzales was seen as probably the best pure hitter available as his ability to make consistent and hard contact paired with his plate discipline make him a perfect top of the lineup hitter. He could easily be the Pirates’ number two hitter as he has the ability to drive in the lead-off man, while also being a table setter for many of the other big bats the Pittsburgh Pirates are projected to have.
The one knock on Gonzales was his fielding. Overall, he’s currently considered an average fielder with so-so range at second base. He got some work at shortstop during his final year at college ball, but doesn’t have the arm to stick at short. However, he worked with former Pirate and arguably a top 15 defensive shortstop of all-time, Jack Wilson over the offseason. Hopefully, some of Jumpin’ Jack’s advice rubbed off on Gonzales as it’s really his only potential weak spot.