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Monday, December 5, 2022

AFL Recap: Nick Gonzales Has Himself a Day in 8-6 Win

The Pirates saw contributions from three of their hitters in a win for the Surprise Saguaros on Wednesday night. The only player in the starting lineup on Thursday was Nick Gonzales, but he wasn’t the only Pirates player to see action. Here’s a recap of today’s game.

Gonzales batted third and played second base. He walked in the first inning. He walked in the third inning as well, stole second base, then scored a run. In the fourth inning, he hit an RBI single. Two innings later, he doubled in another run. He finished 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBIs and a run scored, as well as his first stolen base.

Omar Cruz came on in the fourth inning for his second appearance. He hit a batter and allowed a single, but kept Salt River off of the scoreboard. He topped out at 92.7 MPH, which was higher than his first appearance (91.1 MPH). He threw 17 pitches, with nine strikes. In his second inning of work, he walked the lead-off batter, then got an out at first base on a ground out. The next batter struck out, before Cruz issued a four-pitch walk. That was the end of his day….

Tahnaj Thomas came on in relief of Cruz and immediately gave up a double steal, followed by a balk that scored a run. Thomas got the final out of the fifth inning on a fly ball. He hit 97.1 MPH. He pitched the sixth as well and served up a solo homer as the only hit/runner he allowed in 1.1 innings. He threw 13 of 26 pitches for strikes.

Colin Selby took the seventh and had some troubles. He walked the lead-off batter, then recorded two outs. The next three batters all reached on singles, scoring two runs. He got the final out with the possible winning run at the plate. He threw 25 pitches with 14 going for strikes. He topped out at 98.5 MPH. That was the game, as they decided to play seven innings ahead of time. Surprise won 8-6.

Here’s the boxscore.

Surprise plays tomorrow at 3:35 PM ET.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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emjayinTN

Being injured cost him about 2 months and 200 AB at AA this year, but his Aug 862 OPS and Sep 981 OPS were his two best of 2022. Throwing his name back into that future MI mix of the Pirates.

Anthony

I never took it out of the mix 😉

emjayinTN

That velocity increase of Omar Cruz from 91.1 to 92.7 mph is huge. The Pirates need a LHSP/RP to step up. His numbers were VG in 2021 in his 21 Starts in A+ and AA, but he struggled at AA this year and was used mostly as a multi inning RP.

FanGraphs FV’s of 60 for his Changeup and Command. If he can maintain and locate a 92+ FB, his overall FV of 35+ should get up to 40 or higher.

James_Robert5
b mcferren

his ceiling is Altuve?

chuck_conner

I’ll take it!

James_Robert5

How about 120 to 140 wRC+?

AdministrativeSky236

Id take this every day of the week

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