Former Pittsburgh Pirates first-round pick Nick Gonzales hit his 1st home run of the AFL season and Tahnaj Thomas struggles in relief in a Surprise Saguaros loss on Thursday
Arizona Fall League play continued on Thursday as the Surprise Saguaros played their 9th game. Following a 14-8 loss, the Saguaros are now 7-2 on the season. In the loss, one of the few bright spots for Surprise was one of the Pittsburgh Pirates top prospects.
Henry Davis once again started behind the dish for the Saguaros. Davis went 1-for-3 on the day. Despite the hit, he left four runners on base. Through his first 25 plate appearances in the AFL season Davis owns an .852 OPS.
The biggest star of the day in terms of Pittsburgh Pirates prospect was another first-round pick in Nick Gonzales. The 7th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft started at third base, which was noteworthy in itself.
In his professional career Gonzales has only played shortstop and second base. This makes his start at third base noteworthy. Starting at a new position certainly did not impact Gonzales at the plate.
Gonzales was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Gonzales also drove in a pair of runs on a two-run home run, his first home run of the AFL season. In 25 PAs in the AFL, Gonzales now owns a very healthy 1.176 OPS.
Jacob Gonzalez also appeared in the game for the Saguaros. Gonzalez pinch hit in the 9th inning and grounded out as he continues to search for his first hit of the AFL season.
Two Pirate pitching prospects toed the rubber for the Saguaros on Thursday.
Lefty Omar Cruz pitched 2 hitless, scoreless innings of relief. While Cruz walked two batters he also struck out a pair. He now owns a 1.59 ERA with six walks and five strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched in the AFL thus far.
Tahnaj Thomas, who had a strong 2022 season and could emerge as a key cog in the Pirate bullpen in 2023, followed Cruz. Thomas would go on to take his lumps, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on three this, a walk and two strikeouts in 2/3 of an inning pitched. Thomas owns a 17.18 ERA in 3.2 innings pitched in the AFL.