Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Rum Bunter’s Preseason Top 10

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 18: Catcher Henry Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates takes batting practice on the field after signing a contract with the Pirates at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 18: Catcher Henry Davis, who was selected first overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates takes batting practice on the field after signing a contract with the Pirates at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Feb 29, 2020; Las Cruces, NM, USA; NMSU junior Nick Gonzales runs the bases as 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 /

Number 3 – Second Baseman Nick Gonzales

A first-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020, Nick Gonzales, was considered the best pure hitter in the draft. He showed he could hit for power, contact, and get on base. His athleticism is also considered above average among his peers at second base.

You couldn’t have asked for a better debut season for Gonzales. In 369 trips to the plate, Gonzo batted .302/.385/.565 with 18 dingers, a .405 wOBA, and 150 wRC+. Gonzales had a healthy 10.8% walk rate to go along with a .262 isolated slugging percentage. Like many other Pirate prospects, he also had a fantastic second half. From July 16th to the end of the season, Gonzales batted .353/.438/.647 with a .485 wOBA and 183 wRC+.

Now Gonzales did have a 27.4% strikeout rate and .388 batting average on balls in play. But his heavy line-drive approach will lead to a high BAbip, and his strikeout rate slowly decreased throughout the season. He had a very workable 23.8% strikeout rate in the second half, and he cut down his strikeouts to just a 22.6% rate throughout the last month of the season.

Gonzales is also a plus runner. Once he gets going, he can motor around the bases pretty well. As a defender at the keystone, Gonzales can field his position well. He was initially drafted as a shortstop but lacks the arm to stick at the position. He’ll likely end up as an average to above-average defender by the time he’s fully developed.

As a hitter, Gonzales’s ceiling is similar to Bryan Reynolds, a high-average hitter who gets on base and racks up 30-40 doubles because he drives the gaps with authority. But he has enough power to reach 20 home runs consistently. Defensively, he’ll be just fine at the keystone and will have enough range and arm to make the trickier plays.

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