Draft Prospect Watch: A Look at Two Middle Infield Prospects

The 2020 Major League draft will be held on June 10-12 (assuming the dates won’t change), with the Pittsburgh Pirates making the seventh overall pick on day one of the event. They also have the 31st and 44th overall picks that day. Each Saturday, we will take an in depth look at one prospect who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as another who rates a little lower and fits better with those two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.

Three week ago we featured two of the top college bats in this class. The following week we moved on to two high school bats. Last Saturday was three of the top college pitchers, as we threw an extra one in due to a player being connected to the Pirates. This week is college hitters again, with two players who had their season suspended recently. I’ll get to our first batch of high school pitchers next week.

We start with a possibility for the seventh overall pick. Nick Gonzales, a second baseman from New Mexico State, ranks in the 4-6 range in this draft class for MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Fangraphs. Rarely do you see a future second baseman rate this high, but he makes it here due to his bat. All three sources have praised his bat speed and Pipeline notes that he could be the best pure hitter in this draft class.

Gonzales plays in a very high offensive environment, but he added some confidence for scouts by putting up strong numbers in the Cape Cod League over the summer. His team’s schedule was suspended after 16 games this year, and he has a .448/.610/1.155 slash line, with 12 home runs.

Gonzales has shown some power this year and over the past summer, but he probably won’t be putting up big power as a pro. He profiles more as a high OBP guy who might top out at 15-20 homers a season. He’s an athletic players, who stands 5’10”, 190 pounds and has above average speed, with solid defense at second base. He’s basically a solid all-around player, who excels at getting on base, and should get his share on extra-base hits. He turns 21 years old right before the draft.

Here are some videos of Gonzales, starting with this one from the Cape Cod League courtesy of Prospects Live.

Baseball America had a quick video, but it gives you some good looks at his swing, plus a quick defensive highlight.

While looking for our second player, I try to find someone who fits well at the 31st overall pick, but isn’t too far ahead of the 44th pick, making him a possibility at this point for both picks. I went with Jordan Westburg, a shortstop from Mississippi State. Fangraphs has him rated 26th right now, but it was the other two rankings that convinced me to profile him. Baseball America ranks him 31st overall, while MLB Pipeline has him 43rd. You can’t get much better while looking for someone for the 31st/44th picks.

Westburg stands in at 6’3″, 203 pounds. BA calls him “an impressive athlete, with good running ability and power potential”. Fangraphs calls him athletic, an above average runner and he will stick in the infield, with third base making the most sense. Pipeline calls him an aggressive hitter, with strong bat speed and 20+ home run potential. They believe shortstop is a possibility, but he could end up third base. All three sources mention that he has some contact issues and strikeouts could be a problem.

The upside here is power from an infielder, which will come along with some solid defense and decent speed on the bases. He won’t be a high OBP player, which is what keeps him from being considered near the top of the draft class.

Westburg’s season has been suspended for the rest of this month, but not beyond that yet. He is currently hitting .317/.432/.517 in 16 games, with six doubles and two homers. His strikeout rate in 20.2%, compared to 21.4% last year.

Here’s another nice video from Prospect Live

and a more recent one from Prospect Pipeline

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