The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Tres Gonzalez in the 2022 draft, so what does he bring to the organization and what role could he play in the future?
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired some decent talent from the 2022 draft. Termarr Johnson is arguably now the Pirates’ best prospect. Others like Thomas Harrington and Hunter Barco rank as decent pitching prospects. But one of the more underrated early round selections they made was in the fifth round, selecting outfielder Tres Gonzalez out of Georgia Tech.
The Pirates selected Gonzalez with the 140th overall selection. MLB Pipeline ranked the Georgia Tech outfielder relatively close to his overall selection at 138. Gonzalez had consistently done well throughout college, but his 2022 campaign was his best. His 290 plate appearances was his highest single-season mark. Throughout his best amateur season, Gonzalez batted .339/.458/.474.
Gonzalez wasn’t known as much of a power batter and he had just a .135 isolated slugging percentage. In total, he had 20 extra base hits, including 14 doubles, but just five home runs. But avoiding strikeouts and drawing walks was his last issue. Gonzalez walked 45 times, leading to a 15.5% walk rate, while striking out 27 times, a minuscule 9.3% strikeout rate.
Gonzalez carried over his approach at the dish after he was drafted. He only collected 95 plate appearances, but batted .317/.411/.390. He had nine walks and twelve strikeouts, but an isolated slugging percentage below .100 at .073. But overall, he was still a highly productive batter in the small sample size. Gonzalez clocked in with a 137 wRC+.
Of course, his approach at the plate drew plenty of praise. He doesn’t strike out and walks at a fair rate. However, he does not have very much power. At most, he projects to top out at 12 home runs. He also makes ground ball contact, which is a bit worrying. But if he can become more of a line-drive batter, he’ll do fine. Gonzalez has a quick swing, though it doesn’t generate much power, he moves the bat well. He gets the bat down quickly, which does help him make more contact.
On the defense side of things, Gonzalez is a decent defensive outfielder. He’s mostly played center field and left field because his arm is weak. But he can play an adequate center field. He’s also pretty fast, though he isn’t much of a base stealer. He only had 11 stolen bases in 129 college games. Of course, there are plenty of fast runners who don’t swipe bags. Once he gets going though, he motors around the bases at a 60-grade rate.
Gonzalez might not be the Pittsburgh Pirates best outfield prospect, but he could be a solid fourth outfielder or platoon player. It will be interesting to see how he develops. If he reaches his potential, he could be a .280/.350/.400 hitting outfielder who can play center. But with his lack of power, there’s also a chance he struggles to get the ball out of the infield.