Multiple reports have indicated that the Pirates intend to promote middle infielder Nick Gonzales to the MLB roster. The 24-year-old is one of the more intriguing players in the Minors, thanks to loud raw tools. However, injuries have limited his growth in recent years. With that said, here’s a closer look at Gonzales.
A Look at Gonzales
At New Mexico State, now-Pirates infield prospect Nick Gonzales looked like a superstar prospect. In his sophomore season at New Mexico State, Gonzales hit .432 with 16 home runs and 39 extra base hits over 55 games, then torched the Cape Cod League later that summer. Gonzales blasted 12 home runs over 16 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign and helped solidify his status as a top MLB Draft prospect.
The 24-year-old was taken seventh overall by the Pirates in the 2020 MLB Draft and put up good numbers in his first pro season. Gonzales hit .303/.385/.565 with 18 home runs and 45 extra base hits over 80 games at Greensboro (A+), but his numbers took a dip against advanced pitching in each of the last two seasons.
Gonzales hit .263 with seven home runs in Altoona (AA) last season and put up roughly similar numbers in Indianapolis (AAA) in 2023
A 5’9’’ second baseman with experience at third and short, Gonzales has proven to show above-average power at the second base position. The 24-year-old possesses a plus eye at the plate, great bat speed, and can work counts, all positives. However, two knocks on Gonzales are his defense and durability.
Scouting reports project Gonzales to be at or around an average defender. Not to mention, Gonzales has spent time on the IL in each of the last two seasons with a broken finger in 2021 and a heel injury last season.
What it Means for the Pirates
The Pirates have been able to produce runs without the presence of Oneil Cruz thanks to the likes of Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski. While the Pirates infield isn’t as deep without Cruz, Pittsburgh’s made it work as the Bucs look to compete for a playoff spot.
Gonzales can hit both left and right-handers, and his natural contact ability should be able to make a difference at the MLB level provided that the 24-year-old can stay on the field and put it all together. He’s whiffed more than one would like from an above-average hitter in the Minors, but his raw tools are tantalizing.