With the seventh overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzales. He was announced as a shortstop.
Gonzales played in a very high offensive environment in college so it was hard to get a good feel on how his bat will translate to the pros, but he added some confidence for scouts by putting up strong numbers in the Cape Cod League over the summer. His team’s schedule was suspended after 16 games this year, and he had a .448/.610/1.155 slash line, with 12 home runs.
Gonzales has shown some power this year and over the past summer, but he probably won’t be putting up big power as a pro. He profiles more as a high OBP guy who might top out at 15-20 homers a season. He’s an athletic players, who stands 5’10”, 190 pounds and has above average speed, with solid defense at second base. How that will translate to shortstop full-time is unknown at this point, but he’s selected for his bat/speed, so even if he eventually moves back to second base it’s fine.
He’s basically a solid all-around player, who excels at getting on base, and should get his share on extra-base hits. He should move through the minor league system quickly because he’s a polished player offensively and defensively (at second base). He turned 21 years old right before the draft.
There will be more on Gonzales later from the Pirates.
Here are some 2020 highlights
The Cape Cod League video was taken down since last night, so instead I’m adding this video where former MLB player Matt Antonelli, a first round pick, breaks down Gonzales and his swing
Here’s a third video if the first two weren’t enough
UPDATE From the Pirates:
“We are excited to select Nick Gonzales with our first pick,” said Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington. “Nick has been an elite college performer as a middle infielder both at New Mexico State and summer seasons. We’re equally impressed with the consistent improvement Nick has made since high school. Our area scout, Derrick Van Dusen, and regional crosschecker, Jesse Flores, did great work getting to know Nick as a person and player. We look forward to working with him in a Pirates uniform.”