Nick Gonzales got a late start to the second half in the minor leagues, as he played the final few weeks of July and part of the first week of August in the Major Leagues. Gonzales' brief Major League cameo had its ups and downs, however his numbers in the second half of Triple-A Indianapolis' season have been outstanding.
Gonzales slashed .326/.411/.603 in 163 plate appearances. Power has been one of Gonzales' specialties, and he slugged seven homers while having a .277 isolated slugging percentage. Strikeouts have been a long-term question for Gonzales, though the infielder seemingly gets better as he gets familiar with each and every level. He struck out at just a 21.5% rate while having an 11% walk rate. Between his quality plate discipline, his plus power production, and his ability to rack up hits, Gonzales had a .435 wOBA and 150 wRC+.
Gonzales is a slow starter. He struggles for the first month or two at each level before eventually figuring things out. It has happened at each and every level, and it happened again at Triple-A this season. Up through May 28th, Gonzales had just a .331 wOBA, 84 wRC+, .747 OPS, and 31.7% K-rate. Given how hitter-friendly the International League is, this is mediocre production. Then, from that point up until the Pirates promoted him, Gonzales owned a .956 OPS, .427 wOBA, 145 wRC+, and a much improved 23.2% strikeout rate. Over the last month of playing time, Gonzales has just a 20.2% strikeout rate.
I still think Gonzales has the potential to be a quality regular at the Major League level. He's always been a slow learner but a good adapter. Once he figures things out, he goes on a tear. We'll see what kind of role Gonzales will play for the Pirates in 2024. He is one of the Pirates' many middle infield options for the long-term future and not the only middle infielder we'll look at today.