To say the early season has been a disappointment for Nick Gonzales would be an understatement.
Although the 2020 first round pick was able to get his batting average over the Mendoza line last week, the strikeouts are still a concern and the power is no where near what it was last year.
Some of that was obviously due to playing in Greensboro, but Gonzales entered Tuesday’s game with just four extra-base hits.
Gonzales has really struggled making contact, and after punching out six times last week against Somerset, his strikeout rate had climbed to 36.5%.
One of his main struggles has been against the breaking ball, and that was on full display recently. In his five games last week Gonzales swung the bat 40 times, and missed the ball 19 of those times.
Thanks to the new center field camera in Altoona, we got a little bit of a better view of some of those struggles. Highlighted in his video below.
We see some of the issues at the plate Nick Gonzales has had this year highlighted in last weeks series against Somerset. While continually seeing these swings is concerning, the hit at the end reminds you he isn't a finished product. #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/eYFaOcfRjz
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) May 17, 2022
I stuck in the last pitch to show that all wasn’t lost for Gonzales last week and that he was capable of making the adjustments possible to hit the breaking ball. He just had to do it at a much higher rate than what he is currently doing.
Enter Tuesday, where he got three extra-base hits, including his third home run of the season. All three hits came off of breaking pitches.
Nick Gonzales had himself quite the day. More importantly, after whiffing so much on breaking pitches, he didn't strike out at all and EACH of his XBHs were off of them. #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/jItPN1jxPL
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) May 18, 2022
Gonzales blooped a double in front of the left fielder in the first inning, before going the other way for his second double. Finally he ripped a slider to left field for his third home run of the game.
All breaking pitches. All great examples of Gonzales keeping his super quick hands back long enough to make proper contact.
The location of the slider thrown to him on the home run was very similar in break and location of a swing and miss he had in the first video.
Having a game every now and again where he shows his potential is one thing. Finding a way to do this on a consistent basis is what will make or break him as a prospect.