Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining How 2020 Draft Picks Are Performing

Mar 1, 2021; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Nick Gonzales (81) poses during media day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports
Mar 1, 2021; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Nick Gonzales (81) poses during media day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports /
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Feb 29, 2020; Las Cruces, NM, USA; NMSU junior Nick Gonzales warms up before the New Mexico State Men’s Baseball team faces off against Purdue Fort Wayne in the first game of a double header at Presley Askew Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan J Fish/Sun-News via USA TODAY Network
Feb 29, 2020; Las Cruces, NM, USA; NMSU junior Nick Gonzales warms up before the New Mexico State Men’s Baseball team faces off against Purdue Fort Wayne in the first game of a double header at Presley Askew Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan J Fish/Sun-News via USA TODAY Network /

Nick Gonzales

The Pittsburgh Pirates used their first pick of the draft on second baseman Nick Gonzales. Selected 7th overall, Gonzales was seen as one of, if not the best pure hitter going into the draft. Throughout college, Gonzales hit .399/.502/.747 with 37 home runs, 39 doubles, and a .510 wOBA.

Going into the 2021 season, Gonzales was seen as a top 50 prospect across the board. Currently, MLB Pipeline ranks him as the 29th best prospect in all of baseball while FanGraphs pins him at #68. However, Baseball Prospectus had him at #39 and Baseball America put him at #51 going into the year.

Gonzales started his pro career out at High-A Greensboro. So far, he’s been a solid batter putting up a .248/.322/.457 line with a .341 wOBA, and 112 wRC+. Gonzales is striking out more than you’d like at a 32.9% rate. But he’s showing off some good power with a .209 isolated slugging percentage.

Gonzales has been hampered by a hand injury that kept him out for a little over a month. Plus, let’s not forget that this is the first time he’s played any games since early into the 2020 college season as it was cut short. This is all in a small sample size of plate appearances of less than 150 (143 to be exact). Overall, he’s putting up some solid numbers at High-A. Plus he has a strong 23.5% line drive rate and ground ball rate of just 32.1%, so it should be expected to see his numbers rise if he can keep up those batted ball rates.

Gonzales could get his first taste of Double-A before the end of the season if he can catch fire over the next few weeks. Gonzales’ is seen as one of the Pirates’ future stars, so look for him to be a potential call-up in 2022.

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