Strikeout Rate (Batter)
Another unlikely hero from the Pirates minor league teams this year was Jacob Gonzalez. The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Gonzalez this past offseason from the San Francisco Giants in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Gonzalez was originally a second-round pick, but after struggling mightily for a handful of years, the Giants decided he wasn’t worth the 40-man roster protection, given he never even made it to Double-A.
But Gonzalez would go on to have a career year in 2022. In 480 total plate appearances, the first baseman slashed .305/.377/.459 with 13 round-trippers. He only had a 7.5% walk rate, but his overall output was encapsulated in a .381 wOBA and 132 wRC+.
However, Gonzalez struck out at an impressive clip in which he only went down on strike three 13.1% of the time. Ji-Hwan Bae had the second lowest strikeout rate at 16.9%, which, while still significant, was a far cry from Gonzalez’s rate. When everything was said and done, Gonzalez was one of just 61 total players with a strikeout rate below 15%.
Gonzalez is going to be 24/25 next season (he turns 25 on June 26th), so he’s pretty old for a ‘prospect.’ But he did quite well at Greensboro and Bradenton this year, so he’ll probably find himself as Altoona’s regular first baseman until he proves otherwise. It would be a nice story if he had another excellent season and made the major leagues in 2023.