Pirates Prospects Daily: Nick Gonzales’ Strong Spring is a Good Sign

It’s a good experience for some of the prospects and younger players in Major League camp on non-roster invites, as they get to face competition at a higher level than what they’ve played against previously.

They also get to see how Major League veterans go about their day-to-day to prepare for the season, which can be invaluable on it’s own.

There can be a downfall with it as well, depending on where you are on the depth chart and the position you play. The team you are with are going to prioritize the players that are either competing for a roster spot, or getting their regular starter ready for the season – so plate appearances may be hard to come by at times.

That could make it harder for some player’s to find a rhythm, but that wasn’t the case for Nick Gonzales.

Despite getting barely more than a plate appearance per game played (25 PA in 17 GP), the former first round pick put up some of the best offensive numbers on the team before getting reassigned to minor league camp over the weekend.

Gonzales slashed .391/.440/.522 with nine hits in 23 at-bats. Those nine hits were good to put himself in a tie for second on the team at the time of his reassignment.

The difference will always be the swing and miss for him, something I talked about early on this spring and how he has shown some improvements. He’s willing to take walks, which is always good, but a 16.2% swinging strike rate is a recipe for disaster going forward.

It was a good showing this spring for Gonzales, but there’s more work to be done. it will have to be done on the field, and he will have to show consistency while out there.

To this point in camp, there hasn’t been anyone who has stood out above one another yet. Gonzales won’t be the first option, since he isn’t on the 40-man roster, but the longer it takes for someone to take hold of the job, the more open the door gets for him to get a call.

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

Pirates won 7-5 over Boston on Monday afternoon. Miguel Andujar homered. Luis Ortiz allowed two runs over three innings, lowering him to a 10.50 ERA this spring. Canaan Smith-Njigba had three hits. Here’s the boxscore.

Pirates are at home against the Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon. The lineup will be added below once it becomes available.

**Pirates Business: Options Remaining For the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates

**Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes Keep on Producing Big Numbers Our weekly look at the top draft prospects

**Pirates Prospect Daily: After a Strong Spring, What’s Next for Carmen Mlodzinski?

**Pirates DVR: Ke’Bryan Hayes Home Run, Mitch Keller Cutter

Song of the Day

Today’s Lineup

McCutchen is back from his minor elbow injury. TV game, 1:05 PM start

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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b mcferren

Stephensons´s mutache is approved

b mcferren



After keeping his swing and miss and K numbers down for the first 2 plus week of ST, Cruz has K 6 times in his last 9 at bats……F*Ck!

Last edited 2 months ago by PirateRican21

He’s getting bored. Just taking entire at bats off at this point. Such a conundrum with this dude.


He keeps such things up and he will have trouble finding any team that will offer him what he wants long term. Definite candidate for a new age Derek Bell and Operation Shutdown when he gets later in his career if things don’t change

b mcferren

5th inning Brubaker

b mcferren

another reason to leave Suwinski off the opening day roster is that we are playing away for the first week of the season

here are Jack´s stats away from PNC Park



Brubaker getting tattooed today, so far!


I hope I’m wrong, but I think I’m seeing the writing on the wall with respect to Swaggerty. Shelton was quoted recently as saying, essentially, that they’ll discount ST performances that come in the late innings against minor leaguers. I don’t disagree with that as I do the same. But it allows a manager to create the roster he wants my determining when a guy plays. That much of Swaggerty’s time has been in the late innings seems to be setting up the staff with a reason for sending him down at the start of the season despite his stats.

Scam likely

Yea probably, but why is Shelton still a thing. He did his job to get high draft picks so maybe it’s time to move on.


Agreed, we all can see it now next week: “We told Travis, if he keeps playing like he did this Spring, boy I tell ya, it probably won’t be too long before he is back with us in the Burgh.”

Shelton added: “Also, why would we possibly want to deprive our long-suffering fans of seeing more Suwinsky in CF, Mathias getting regular AB’s, foreclose the chance of a breakout year from Connor Joe, not to mention making sure we do right by Owings’ playing time — this whole managing thing is not easy.”


Shelton doesn’t make this call, it’s BC’s call. Good time to remind everyone Swaggerty was selected by NH, not BC. Whereas, Jack and CSN were acquired in trades orchestrated by BC.


Bullpen battles………….original….now
10) Robert Stephenson…80%……90%
11) Colin Holderman…….50%……80%
12) Jose Hernandez (L)…70%……80%
13) Dauri Moreta………….20%……60%
14) Yerry de los Santos…60%……30%
15) Yohan Ramirez……….40%……20%
16) Cody Bolton…………..20%……20%
17) Rob Zastryzny (L)……10%……10%
18) Angel Perdomo (L)…..10%……10%
19) Juan Minaya…………..20%……10%
20) Daniel Zamora (L)……..5%……..5%
21) Colin Selby……………..10%……..0%
22) Caleb Smith (L)……….10%……..0%
23) Nathan Webb……………5%……..0%


Because Moreta has options, they probably will go with a lefty like Perdomo instead


Could be. Although Moreta is already on the 40-man while the others are not. Meaning someone (Vilade!) would have to be released.


How can you release Ryan Vilade Who’s Still On The Roster???? Perish the thought!

If they don’t make room for him, Owings and Mathias on the OD roster I am boycotting the season…


Jarlin Garcia’s injury pushes Stephenson and Holderman closer to locks. I have to believe they’ll keep Jose Hernandez since they used a top Rule 5 pick on him. Moreta is trying to pitch his way onto the team. Or will they bring one of the journeyman lefties instead? Yerry and Yohan are pitching their way out of consideration.

b mcferren

has Stephenson pitched in a spring training game yet?


He has not. Been throwing some live BP. Supposed to get in a game any day.

b mcferren

Nick starting in Pittsburgh by June 15?


In an amazing coincidence, both Nick G and Endy will have overcome their developmental hurdles within a week of each other soon after the projected Super 2 date passes.


I’m as cynical as the next man, but Nicky and Endy aren’t even close to being comparable in regards to Super 2.


That’s fair.

b mcferren

the right move would be to release Choi so that Suwinski stays on the opening day roster


You obviously missed the DS interview where he came out and said Jack has earned his roster spot regardless of ST stats or changes to his stance.


I think Choi was signed before they thought Santana was realistic and then keeping both became a luxury (yeah, what’s luxurious about that) when Cutch came aboard. Now that we appear to have Swaggs ready for prime-time (making Cutch a full time DH – which he should) ChoiTana is a drag on the roster but… it would mean a legit, traditional pinch hitter on the bench every game instead of using a rookie or a backup infielder. Food for thought.

b mcferren

we traded for Choi

he was not signed as a free agent

he went through arbitration, meaning that we can release him before opening day and not be on the hook for his 2023 salary

this move seems enevitable


MLB doesn’t work like that. Choi is getting his money for this year.


According to the beat writer at the Gazette, Bmac is right. Need Ethan’s help with this one.

b mcferren

you need to check the rule book


Lmao ok. You say crazy shit all the time.


Only way Choi and Santana aren’t on OD roster is injury.


That makes it a Nutting approved move and I like it! Buy Suwinski a 1B mitt and make it so.


That’s not happening. Seaggerty is going to be sent to AAA and so is either Bar or CSN. Maybe both if Owings makes the squad coming out of camp.

b mcferren

Cutch back in the lineup


I think we are burying the lead. The hitting is just a bonus this spring.

77 Plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League with an 21% K rate. 25 plate appearances in spring training with 20% K rate.

Understanding that Nick G. Was a first round pick and expectations were high for his hit tool, his K rate across the minors is 28%. That is high, in the 90th+ percentile if it was in the majors, but it isn’t Mason martin high. He isn’t starting from a ridiculous rate that makes me worry whether he can do it. He only needs to cut it by about 25% and he’s in range.

His last 100 plate appearances he has cut it down by almost 50%.

FanGraphs dropped him to a 40 FV recently. That seems like a gross overreaction that we shouldn’t assist with compounding. He’s making the adjustments. That’s the story. Not that he needs to make them, but he is making them.


Definitely trending in right direction, but I would caution it’s still a SSS. Do it for 50-60 more games in AAA and your “lead story” has true validity.


All those scouts must be wrong! 😦


Really good intel sewer! Being a college kid we think he’s been around long enough to stereotype his weakness but he had a 815 OPS in his second pro season in AA. He probably has yet to hit a comfort level but you’ve shown that maybe he is finding that in his last 100 PAs. Especially with FG cutting his potential to bench strength, I’m buying call options on Nick Gonzalez!


What’s lost on most readers of this page is how he impacts the ball. I’ve been going to Curve games for 15 years and the guys that made the consistent loudest contact are Marte, Bell… the anomoly Jason Martin… and Gonzalez.

and his K’s were a lot of taken 3rd strikes. I’m not concerned.


So not concerned about missing balls in the zone like he did all year at Altoona? I don’t think readers here doubt that he can impact the ball. He just doesn’t impact the ball enough. And that’s gonna get tougher the higher up he goes.


Kevin Newman had amazing plate coverage. Josh Van Meter literally lead the league ability to only swing at strikes. You see how good those guys are.


We get it bro.


I am cautiously optimistic about Nicky G, but I wanna see what he does in Indy this year. And, the trouble he has with curves and off speed pitches has to improve, too.


They are related. As the sample grows if he keeps the K rate in the low 20s that should mean he is competing against the curve.


Considering he’s never had a K rate under 27% that feels like a tall ask.


Read my first comment. He has been at 21% for his last 200 ABs.


I don’t think that necessarily means he’s figured something out. Could be it’s only a hot 200 at bats. And the FG ranking has merit if you read it as they found alarming similarities with him and other guys who struggled a lot.


Which has mostly been a tradeoff with contact quality.

His AFL k-rate is posited as a success and yet he performed about 200 points *worse* in OPS repeating the league a year older.

He’s performed statistically worse than his closest swing/tool comps – Hiura, Kieboom, Downs – and every one of them have gotten blown up in the show.

Longenhagen is simply applying lessons of past evaluation errors.

Whether or not Nick follows or bucks the trend is yet to be seen, but this is precisely how you should be scouting players. Don’t be bullheaded, learn from mistakes.

Last edited 2 months ago by NMR
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