As a first round draft pick, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Nick Gonzales entered the organization with high expectations.
The Pirates made Gonzales the seventh overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft out of New Mexico State. With no minor league season in 2020, Gonzales didn’t get his first taste of pro ball until 2021, where he had a successful year with High-A Greensboro.
That season, Gonzales hit .303 with a .950 OPS and 18 home runs in 80 games.
Gonzales began the 2022 season with Double-A Altoona. While it wasn’t as good of a season as his 2021 campaign, Gonzales still managed a respectable 127 wRC+. Gonzales missed about two months of the year with plantar fasciitis.
Despite the promising offensive statistics, there have been concerns about the 23-year-old’s prospect status. Gonzales has struck out at a high clip (career 27.9% strikeout rate) and his defensive profile limits him almost exclusively to second base.
The concerns caused Gonzales to slide down Pirates’ prospects list by various outlets.
That meant that the 2023 season was going to be a big year for the former first rounder and it would start this spring.
Pressure? No pressure, at least not yet for Gonzales.
Gonzales went 2 for 2 with a pair of hard hit singles for the Pirates in their 10-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. With the pair of hits, Gonzales raised his average to .357 (5 for 14) and bumped his OPS to 1.009.
So far this spring, Gonzales has answered the bell at the plate.
In Other News…
Gonzales wasn’t the only Pirates’ prospect who had good game in Thursday’s contest against Detroit.
Ji-hwan Bae, who is fighting for the starting second base gig, finished the game 2 for 3 from the leadoff spot of the Pirates’ lineup.
Catcher Endy Rodriguez roped a double down the right field line, raising his spring average to .357 (5 for 14). Prospects Carter Bins and Malcom Nunez each had a base hit as well.
And finally, on the pitching side of things, right-hander Osvaldo Bido pitched a scoreless ninth inning. He struck a batter out and walked one.