SAMUEL GONZALEZ
CATCHER
Born: February 24, 1989
Height: 6′ 0″
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2009
How Acquired: Int. FA
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Gonzalez signed at age 20, which is older than the norm for Latin prospects, but he advanced quickly in his first couple of seasons.  Like a lot of the teams lower-level catchers, he’s wiry and athletic, with a good arm and more agility than many catchers.  He at least has the potential to be a good defensive catcher and so far has shown a solid, line drive bat.  His build and stance at the plate are very reminiscent of Manny Sanguillen, and like Sanguillen he tends to wait on pitches and try to drive them to right field.

2009
DSL:  261/333/337, 92 AB, 5 2B, 1 3B, 7 BB, 7 K, 3-6 SB

Caught about half the time in the DSL and had a decent debut with the bat, posting the same number of walks as strikeouts.  Threw out 23% of base stealers.

2010
DSL:  349/414/542, 235 AB, 17 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 14 BB, 19 K, 5-10 SB

Was one of the best hitters in the DSL in his second season, although he was old for that league at age 21.  He again showed very good plate discipline.  He threw out 27% of basestealers.

2011
A-:  302/375/388, 139 AB, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 14 BB, 15 K, 3-7 SB

As they generally have done with Latin American prospects who are older than the norm for the rookie level, the Pirates brought Gonzalez straight to State College rather than sending him to the GCL.  He had a strong season, making the New York-Penn League All-Star team and again controlling the strike zone very well.  He only threw out 17% of base stealers and had seven passed balls, after committing only three in his two DSL seasons, so he probably has work to do on defense.  He missed the last three weeks of the season with a shoulder strain.

2012
A-:  247/320/325, 194 AB, 5 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 16 BB, 27 K, 3-9 SB

Gonzalez was still troubled in spring training by a shoulder problem and didn’t start catching until the end of camp, although he was able to hit throughout.  The shoulder was still bothering him when State College’s season started, as the Pirates moved him to the infield.  He split time at first with Jared Lakind and played one game at second.  He had a disappointing season at the plate; whether the shoulder played a role in that I don’t know.

2013
R:  071/133/071, 14 AB, 1 BB, 3 K

Gonzalez was catching in camp in 2013, but he opened the season in extended spring training.  He ultimately appeared in just five widely scattered games in the GCL, mainly at catcher.

Gonzalez is still with the organization, but will now be a player/coach.  He may appear in a few games at the lower levels if there are some injuries, or he may not appear in any games at all.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2014: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2012
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
February 6, 2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.