Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Minor League Statistical Leaders
By Noah Wright
OPS, Slugging percentage, wRC+, Isolated Slugging Percentage
.950, .565, 150, .262
Unsurprisingly, the Pirates’ highly-touted Nick Gonzales leads in many offensive categories. The Bucs selected Gonzales with the 7th overall selection in the 2020 draft. Seen as one of the best pure hitting players available, Gonzales got his professional career started off with a bang at High-A Greensboro.
Gonzales hit .302/.385/.565 with a .405 wOBA, and 150 wRC+. His wRC+ (weighted runs created plus, which is a measure of how good the player was to the league average while also factoring in park factors and league factors, and 100 is average), OPS (on-base+slugging), slugging percentage, and isolated slugging (slugging percentage-batting average) was the best among the Pirates’ minor leaguers. Though he did barely beat out Matthew Fraizer in wRC+, who had a 149 mark, and Endy Rodriguez in wOBA, who we’ll discuss later.
Gonzales did have a tad high of a strikeout rate at 27.4%, but he lowered it as the season went on. Through the final 2 months of the season, Gonzales’s strikeout rate was a reasonable 23.3%. Plus he had a healthy 10.8% walk rate overall this season.
The only real knock you could make on his season is his batting average on balls in play sitting at .388. While that is a bit high, Gonzales had a line-drive rate of just under 30% (27.9% to be exact). He hit more flyballs than ground balls with a 35.6% ground ball rate and 36.5% fly ball rate. His batted ball rates were going to lead to many balls falling for hits.
Gonzales showed a ton of pop, blasting 18 long balls in just 369 trips to the plate. He put himself on pace for nearly 30 home runs and 40 doubles this season. His .262 ISO, as stated earlier, was the best in the farm. This season should only further push him up prospect boards.