It’s hard to think of too many collegiate prospects with better production than Nick Gonzales of New Mexico State. The second baseman should be one of the first players off the board come the MLB Draft, thanks in large part to his wild success at the plate. During his first season at New Mexico, Gonzales turned heads by posting a .347/.425/.596 slash line in 230 plate appearances. Doing that as a 19-year old is no easy task, and he proved it wasn’t a fluke.
As a sophomore, Gonzales posted an absurd .432/.532/.773 slash line in 284 plate appearances. He was still 1.3 years younger than the average NCAA player, so his ability to perform like a star despite being on the younger side drew attention across scouting circles. He added to his already impressive scouting profile by hitting .351/.451/.630 in 185 summer league plate appearances.
Somehow, Gonzales managed to be even better in 2020. During what would become his final collegiate season, the New Mexico State product posted an otherworldly .448/.610/1.155 slash line in 82 plate appearances. While these numbers may have gone down in a larger sample, there is no denying that he is among the best prospects in the 2020 MLB Draft.
2020 MLB Draft Profile: Nick Gonzales
The first thing that jumps off the page with Gonzales is his contact ability. As demonstrated by his high batting averages, Gonzales has a knack for making contact and hitting it where the fielders aren’t. He only struck out 79 times in 596 NCAA plate appearances, with 39 of those coming as a freshman. He’s quick to register pitches and he possesses above-average bat speed, which is always a good thing.
Making contact is obviously a good thing, but Gonzales also possesses some power potential. Gonzales hit 37 home runs during his collegiate career, including 12 in his 16 games as a Junior. His seven career triples and 37 doubles show that he has the speed to get around the base paths and get the extra base whenever possible.
Honestly, most of the bad things about Gonzales are just nitpicks. The biggest concern with Gonzales is his relatively undersized frame. At 5’-10” and 190 pounds, Gonzales doesn’t have the ideal build for a long major league career. Guys like Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve proved that elite talents can overcome smaller size, so this shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
In terms of on-field play, Gonzales isn’t a great defender and has a pretty pedestrian arm. Most of the top middle-infield prospects have at least an outside shot of making it as a shortstop, but that possibility does not exist here. Thanks to his below-average arm and pedestrian range, his only path to the majors is at second base.
Bottom Line on Nick Gonzales
Nick Gonzales is one of 2020’s best prospects and should hear his name called pretty early in the MLB Draft. The 5’-10”, 190-pound infielder might not have the traditional build for the position, but his bat more than makes up for it. Gonzales produced every single year of his collegiate tenure and steadily improved as his career progressed. He has great contact skills and has plus power potential. His ability with the bat easily overshadows his relatively pedestrian defense and should make him a top-ten pick.
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