Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Nick Gonzales Stays Hot in the AFL & More

NMSU junior Nick Gonzales takes a swing at the plate 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 in Las Cruces on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.Nick Gonzales 3
NMSU junior Nick Gonzales takes a swing at the plate 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 in Las Cruces on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.Nick Gonzales 3 /
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Nick Gonzales and three Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects took the field for the Surprise Saguaros in Thursday’s Arizona Fall League action

On Thursday, the Surprise Saguaros played their fourth game of the Arizona Fall League season. Game four saw the Saguaros defeat the Salt Walter Rafters 8-6 to improve to 3-1. The game saw four Pittsburgh Pirates prospects see action.

After starting at shortstop in Wednesday evening’s 6-5 victory, Nick Gonzales started at second base for the Saguaros on Thursday. The 7th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft continued his strong start to the AFL season.

Gonzales went 2-for-2 with a run scored and two RBI. He also drove in a pair of runs while hitting his 1st double of the AFL season. Through three AFL games, Gonzales is 5-for-11 with two walks, a double, a triple, and four RBI.

If his start to the AFL season is any sign of things to come from Gonzales, it would be a great way to cap off a strong, but injury riddled, 2022 minor league season. Gonzales should enter the 2023 season in position to make his MLB debut at some point.

Gonzales was the only Pittsburgh Pirates position player prospect to play on Thursday. However, three pitching prospects would toe the rubber for the Saguaros. The first of these three was lefty Omar Cruz. In 1.2 innings of relief, Cruz allowed a run on a hit, two walks and two strikeouts.

Cruz, like Gonzales, spent a large portion of the summer on the injured list. Also like Gonzales, when he was healthy Cruz pitched for the Double-A Altoona Curve. He has now allowed a run while walking four batters and striking out three in 3.2 innings pitched thus far in the AFL.

Another member of the 2022 Altoona Curve that finds himself on the Surprise roster is right-handed reliever Tahnaj Thomas. Thursday evening Thomas faced five batters, retiring four of them. However, the lone batter he failed to retire hit a solo home run.

Colin Selby, who was also a member of Altoona’s bullpen this past season, struggled in the 9th inning. Selby allowed 2 runs on three hits, a walk and a strikeout. Selby has a 9.00 ERA through his first two appearances of the AFL season.

2022 Pirate Minor League Stat Leaders. dark. Next

Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects and the Surprise Saguaros is a matchup with the 4-0 Peoria Javelinas. First pitch is scheduled for 3:35 PM ET on Friday.

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