|Born: October 23, 1989
Height: 5′ 11″
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2008
How Acquired: Int. FA
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Gonzalez is a solid all-around player who lacks any plus tools, but does most things on the field reasonably well. The Pirates had him slated at one point for utility status, but he’s developed very well as a hitter. He’s moved around a lot between positions, but has settled in for now at third, mainly because that’s the position that’s been available. He has more or less average speed and pretty good range in the infield. His arm isn’t especially good and he’s probably better suited for second than third.
Had a good debut in VSL, hitting for average but not showing much patience or power. He was the primary thirdbaseman on a very strong team, and also played a little at short and other positions. He committed fifteen errors in just 37 games at third.
Gonzalez made the GCL roster and had a decent debut although his strike zone judgment was still weak. He also saw time at State College late in the season due to injuries. He played second, short and third, mostly third in the GCL and second at State College. A dismal .837 fielding percentage at third showed he may not have the arm to play there, as he hasn’t had the same problem at second.
Gonzalez opened the season in extended spring training, which meant he was probably slated for State College. He moved up to West Virginia, though, when injuries at Bradenton forced the Pirates to promote the Power’s utility infielder, Adenson Chourio. Gonzalez became a pleasant surprise after the promotion. He started off in a utility role, splitting time evenly between second, short and third. Late in season, however, he began taking playing time away from Power’s struggling thirdbaseman, Jesus Brito. The more Gonzalez played, the better he hit; his OPS from June through August went from .545 to .773 to .820. His plate discipline improved dramatically late in season and he even hit three HRs in five September games. He hit RHPs (.820 OPS) much better than LHPs (.655), which is common with switch-hitters. He managed to improve his fielding percentage at third to .909, although that’s still pretty bad. I’ve seen him make a couple of bonehead mistakes, but at least they were of the excess-of-enthusiasm variety.
Spent season as starting thirdbaseman for Bradenton and had a big year, finishing second in the FSL in batting among qualifiers and second in doubles. He had an especially big finish, hitting 400/452/558 in August. He hit much better against LHPs this time, with a .987 OPS to .785 against RHPs, so the platoon split may not be an issue. His numbers can’t be attributed to McKechnie, as he hit only slightly better there than on the road. He was helped, though, by an extraordinarily high batting on balls in play of .392, which he’s unlikely to repeat. His plate discipline slipped from the previous year. His fielding percentage at third edged upward to .923.
Gonzalez opened 2012 as a utility player with Altoona, as Jeremy Farrell was starting at third. This was surprising considering that Farrell struggled in 2011 and Gonzalez was coming off a big year. The reasons became more apparent, though, as Gonzalez struggled at the plate. His K rate increased from one every five ABs to one every three and a half. He played second and third, and a little at first. The Pirates sent him back to Bradenton in late June and he didn’t hit there, either. He did draw a lot of walks and hit for solid power, but the increased K rate remained. For the Marauders, Gonzalez played second, third and DH.
It’s hard to say what happened to Gonzalez in 2012, because he’d always hit before. Considering the increase in his K rate, he may have gotten overanxious. He’ll probably be a utility player at either Altoona or Bradenton in 2013. Gonzalez was eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the off-season, but he wasn’t added to the roster and won’t be selected.
|2013: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2012
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|2008: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.|