GUSTAVO NUNEZ
SHORTSTOP
  Born: February 8, 1988
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Signed: International Free Agent, 2007 (Tigers)
How Acquired: Rule 5 Draft
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates selected Nunez from the Tigers in the Rule 5 draft.  He’s a good defensive shortstop who’s increasingly struggled at the plate as he’s moved up.  He has good speed but it hasn’t translated into base stealing skill as yet.  He was suspended in 2009 for unspecified “conduct detrimental to the team.”

2007
DSL:  284/370/350, 243 AB, 10 2B, 3 3B, 32 BB, 45 K, 9-16 SB

Had a solid debut in the DSL.  Nunez played short there exclusively.

2008
R:  200/233/275, 40 AB, 3 2B, 2 BB, 6 K, 1-2 SB
A+:  245/304/272, 164 AB, 4 2B, 11 BB, 29 K, 1-4 SB

Nunez played only briefly in rookie ball and then moved up to high A, which is a large jump.  He didn’t hit much, with no power at all.  He played a little at second, but mostly at short, a pattern that continued in later years.

2009
R:  190/261/333, 21 AB, 1 HR, 1 BB, 5 K, 3-3 SB
A:  315/360/425, 464 AB, 16 2B, 10 3B, 5 HR, 25 BB, 62 K, 45-70 SB

The Tigers sent Nunez down to low A and he hit well, even showing some power.  He ran a lot, but not especially well.  He did have the suspension.

2010
A+:  222/263/281, 523 AB, 13 2B, 6 3B, 2 HR, 21 BB, 93 K, 33-41 SB

Nunez moved back up to high A and didn’t hit at all.

2011
A+:  304/368/431, 260 AB, 10 2B, 7 3B, 3 HR, 25 BB, 40 K, 14-24 SB
AA:  215/252/289, 121 AB, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 27 K, 4-7 SB

Returning to the FSL for a third season, Nunez finally started to hit, but at 23 he was old for the level.  He struggled in a late-season stint in AA, until an early-August ankle injury ended his season.

2012
R:  400/500/1000, 5 AB, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 BB, 1 K, 0-1 SB
A+:  294/333/353, 17 AB, 1 2B, 1 BB, 3 K
AA:  227/292/273, 22 AB, 1 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, 1-2 SB

Although Nunez was expected to be ready for spring training, he wasn’t and ended up having surgery on the ankle.  He didn’t surface until August, when he got into 14 games on rehab assignments at three different levels.  When Altoona finished its season, rather than calling him up the Pirates left Nunez on the 60-day disabled list, stating that his ankle still wasn’t healthy.

Nunez was a puzzling selection.  The Pirates seem obsessed with having an offensively inept glove-and-speed guy available at all times.  Nunez is very similar to Argenis Diaz and Pedro Ciriaco, neither of whom contributed anything of note (although Ciriaco made a big, most likely fluke showing with Boston in 2012).  If the Pirates keep him, the Rule 5 procedures will still apply in 2013, meaning that he’ll have to stay on the major league roster all season.  It’d make more sense for them to try to work out a deal with the Tigers, preferably one involving only cash, that would let them remove him from the 40-man roster and send him to the minors.  Alternatively, they could simply return him.  They should have better uses for the 40-man roster spot.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Major league minimum
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Not Eligible (on 40-man roster)
Added to 40-Man: 12/8/2011
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
May 3, 2007: Signed as an international free agent by the Detroit Tigers.
December 8, 2011: Selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.