Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Jacob Gonzalez is Heating Up

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick in the July 2023 MLB draft. Our draft preview looked at the top prospects for the pick.

Every Monday, weโ€™ll recap notable performances from around the prep and college ranks, with video to give you an early look at who could be available to the Pirates. This is our sixth weekly recap of the weekend action for the top college draft prospects.

Dylan Crews was our first draft prospect profile. The LSU outfielder went 0-for-2 with two walks in the mid-week game versus Nicholls. His weekend series was against South Carolina. Crews went 1-for-3 with a single and HBP on Thursday. Crews went 0-for-3 with a walk and HBP on Friday. Their finale was canceled due to weather. He’s hitting .510/.645/.882 in 31 games, with 11 doubles, nine homers and 32 walks.

LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes is a top five draft prospect, who is off to a tremendous start. He was our fourth prospect profile. He had his first rough start of the season on Thursday against South Carolina, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits (both homers) in three innings, with no walks and eight strikeouts. The game was delayed due to lightning, ending his start early. He now has a 5-1, 1.14 record in 47.1 innings over eight starts, with a 91:8 SO/BB ratio and a .130 BAA.

Chase Dollander is considered to be a top two pitcher in the class right now, along with Skenes. We took a closer look at him in our second prospect profile. The University of Tennessee right-hander went up against Florida and top hitting prospect Wyatt Langford (see below) on Thursday. It was a rough day for Dollander, whose chances at going #1 are slipping away. He went four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. He’s now 4-3, 4.19 in 43 innings, with 63 strikeouts and a .230 BAA.

Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford has a chance to go #1. He was rated as the top draft prospect by The Athletic, with his athleticism being the thing that pushed him ahead of Crews for Keith Law. Baseball America had him ranked second in their latest update. He was our sixth draft prospect profile.

Langford was supposed to be out of action for at least another month after injuring himself by getting hit with a foul ball off of his own bat. He returned much earlier than expected, missing two full weeks instead of possibly 6-8 weeks. He played Bethune-Cookman in the mid-week game, going 2-for-3 with a double, triple and a walk. He played versus Tennessee this weekend, going 0-for-3 with two walks in Dollander’s start.

Langford went 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk on Friday. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, as Florida got blown out 14-2 on Saturday. He’s hitting .380/.538/.848 in 26 games, with ten doubles, three triples and nine homers.

Here’s Friday’s homer

Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University has a long shot at being the #1, but heโ€™s still a top ten prospect. The son of former Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson didn’t play this weekend because he was hit on the hand with a pitch last weekend. There were no breaks, so he should return soon.

Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez from Ole Miss is another name to watch, though he needs to make a move soon to have any chance at the #1 spot. He played against Texas A&M last weekend and put up strong stats. He went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks in the mid-week game versus Memphis. He played three games against Arkansas on the weekend.

Gonzalez went 1-for-2 with a walk and HBP in the first game. He went 1-for-4 in game two. He went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and an RBI single on Saturday. He’s hitting .381/.486/.605 in 31 games, with 11 doubles and six homers.

Here’s the home run

Walker Jenkins is the first of two high school players we plan on adding, though if anyone else starts getting mentioned higher, they will be added too. Jenkins was our third player profile article. His stats are going to be hard to come by, but I’ll add updates where I can. I believe he has played one game since, but his last stats I saw showed him going 13-for-22, with two homers, 18 walks and two HBP. We aren’t seeing many highlights because he’s walking half of the time.

Max Clark has been added to our watch. The Indiana outfielder was profiled here in our fifth article for the series. His season started last Saturday, so there’s not much to go on yet that isn’t in his recent profile. As with Jenkins, stats will be added when possible. Clark had three hits in his season debut. Here’s his first homer of the year a few days later, which can be seen in this video…

Bonus Feature

This last highlight isn’t for a potential #1 pick (possibly not even a potential future pro player), but it would be wrong of me not to include it for anyone who may have missed it. Brady Ware, a 22-year-old graduate student from the University of Indianapolis, tossed a no-hitter and hit for the cycle in the same game. Well done, sir.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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b mcferren

would be tempting to restore a Clark Bar sponsorship on the outfield wall

b mcferren

after Clark, do we have any idea of the top high school players? especially the ones who are currently leaning toward college?

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