P2Daily: Nick Gonzales Is Getting A Lot Of Playing Time At Third In the AFL

We are about three weeks into the Arizona Fall League and maybe the most interesting thing to transpire there among the prospects the Pirates sent over has been Nick Gonzales getting significant playing time at third base for the Surprise Saguaros.

Gonzales has come up with some big hits, including a pair of home runs, but it has been the expanding of his defensive flexibility that has been the bigger development.

When he was drafted, Gonzales was touted as a hit-first second base prospect, one some believed could eventually compete for a batting title at the major league level. While it’s still early in his career, and injuries have affected his play, what we’ve seen on the field isn’t exactly what we were led to believe.

Gonzales is showing a little more power potential than maybe was originally believed, but has struggled to make contact, striking out nearly 30% of the time this year in Altoona. He’s also been a better fielder than you might from a player that was a labeled a ‘hit-first second base prospect’.

So now him adding third base to his repertoire is a big bonus to the former top 10 pick, and only raises his floor in how he potentially could help the big league club down the road.

Dariel Lopez Off To Quick Start With Gigantes

Lopez was a player I had at the beginning of the season as someone who very much had breakout potential, and a late-season injury took away his chance at a 20 home run season, finishing with 19.  He’s getting to make up some of that playing time lost by playing in Winter Ball, and he’s been off to a really good start.

He picked up a three-hit game the other night, and went the other way for a triple on Wednesday.

The infielder will be 21-years-old by time the 2023 season starts and will have the opportunity to start the year at Double-A Altoona. He’s shown the ability to hit at each level he’s played in the last two years, despite being one of the youngest in the league, but maybe more importantly Lopez’s focus in winter ball is to work on his defense.

Lopez has gotten recognition for his defensive play in Bradenton two years ago, with the managers voting him the best defensive third baseman, but has also registered over 30 errors in each of the last two seasons.

If Lopez can work on his throwing, that will only help further his raise up the organization.

Highlight of the Day

Song of the Day


Pirates Articles

Pirates Prospects Spotlight

WTM: Projecting the Pirates’ Possible Position Players at the End of 2023

Premium Articles

Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Minor League Recaps

Indianapolis Indians

Altoona Curve

Greensboro Grasshoppers

Bradenton Marauders

FCL Pirates

DSL Pirates Hitters

DSL Pirates Pitchers

Pirates Discussion

Weekly Pirates Discussion: Pirates Should Make Moves With a Purpose

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This kid oozes hustle and grit, which don’t show up on the stat sheet. I find it funny how quick everyone wants to give up on him bc of a slightly elevated k-rate, yet advocate to keep Cruz in the majors to “learn how to hit MLB pitching.” Nicky G has/had better BB/K rates than Cruz throughout their minor league careers, and I have way more confidence in him to make the necessary adjustments to have a productive MLB career.

Rob Baran

There’s a coach of his from last year that got to work with him directly that speaks very highly of his obsession and work ethic, both in the box and the field.



Ridiculous bat speed and super high exit velocities means XBH not necessarily high average. Don’t know where this batting title trope comes from.


From Las Cruses


Call the Royals and see if we could get 1b Pratto straight up for Gonzales.


I would love a big swing for pratto or pasquantino from the royals. Feel like they would prefer young pitching, but maybe we could find a deal that hurts both sides a little but helps overall


Pratto is a brilliant defender, has big power, and even more swing and miss issues than Gonzalez. Pasquantino is a young Sean Casey with more power. Since the Royals have three other credible first base candidates (Perez, Dozier, and Melendez), a deal should be possible. Unfortunately, the Royals will indeed be seeking pitching.


Bae might be of more interest to the Royals, but they need pitching.


Happily would send bae off, pitching could be decided if theres someone they value more than us I guess but probably likely


I still “love” Christian Walker, but after the year he had I doubt he would be available.


According to BTV, bae is worth a lil more than walker


I went to that site the second I posted that comment. It would be nice to have a RH smasher that plays a good 1b.


Anthony, I asked one of the writers (may have been you) previously about the observation of Gonzales being better than advertised on defense. Is that an observation you have seen across the industry, a personal observation, a consensus among PP writers, or other? I am not questioning the observation I am truly just trying to get over a 2 game observation (nice sample size!!) which has kept me very biased with an opposing view of his defense.


Longenhagen and the FanGraphs group team view him as an adequate second baseman.


A bat first 3rd baseman who is at least average at the position would be a boost. Gimme a Hebner/Madlock type any time over a Ken Reitz.


You’re way off in your assessment of Hayes. Ken Reitz (admittingly I have no clue who he is) had a total of 3.2 fWAR in 11 seasons.

Hayes has 6.9 fWAR in 3 seasons.


He WAS considered a fine fielding third baseman. But then they didn’t have all of these questionable fielding stats that we have now, like DRS, etc. But, my point stands.


Why are they questionable? Because you don’t understand them?


I understand them but they use subjective ratings, imo.


We all know you’re a Hayes Hater, Lee.


So? What does that have to do with a guy who is glove oriented, with no stick at a position that is usually reserved for offensive guys? 🙂 🙂


Your point stands but it’s wrong and that’s ok. Ignorance is bliss.


Fine. Prove me wrong. Pls calculate Reitz and Werber’s DRS values. Until then it is just opinion metrics for the old guys.

b mcferren

nerds ruined baseball


To some degree nerds saved baseball by helping us regain an appreciation for defense. I’ve always loved watching elite defenders and maybe we needed stats like WAR so that those guys were valued to the degree they should be.


How can we evaluate defensive WAR for old timers? And how can we compare them? I don’t think we can.


I think there has been a progression–“back in the day” we relied heavily on the eye test/scouting and recognized when a player provided value through defense (though surely our eyes deceived us on occasion), then there was the stats revolution (Moneyball) with new ways to objectively evaluate offensive value and defense got left behind, but now with better and better defensive metrics, we have objective ways to identify the value a great defender adds.


So, what you’re saying is that defenders like Reitz can’t be compared to Hayes when it comes to WAR? Did you just prove my point? 🙂 🙂

You can’t add ‘eye test’ to WAR last I checked. 🙂


I agree but the information is out there, and you can’t ignore it.


So, how can they go back and adjust for all of these old time defenders? Answer: They can’t. There is NO way they can create DRS for example for these oldtime stars. For instance, is Bill Werber’s defensive WAR accurate? Can we compare a Clete Boyer to a Hayes?


It would depend on how DRS is calculated I guess. If all the data is available and accurate and maybe they could assign those older guys values. I don’t know how it’s calculated though and I’m too lazy to look it up.


Lazy is my middle name. 🙂

b mcferren

sending Key’Bryan to the Dodgers for Dustin May


I’d rather throw a bit more in and go for Marlin’s Eury Perez.

b mcferren

Reynolds to the Marlins
Pablo Lopez to the Blue Jays
Alejandro Kirk, Eury Perez and Max Meyer to the Pirates


I think we might be more likely to sign judge than for this to happen, but id take it lol


I respect your opinion but you’d have to through in Reynolds to get that deal done.


I must say I find this one intriguing, and one the Dodgers would maybe consider. May’s injury history does worry me a bit, but when healthy he could be a top of the rotation guy. Hayes is a great defensive 3B that may end Arrenado’s streak of Gold Gloves this year, but there is some question whether he will be a great hitter. Trading him for a top of the rotation pitcher would makes some sense right now, if you had enough confidence that Mays will get there despite the injuries.

I do think the Dodgers would maybe consider this trade. They could use an upgrade at 3B over Muncy. Hayes would be that upgrade. Their pitching is loaded, so giving up Mays would not be a huge issue for them. He is damaged goods right now, but that does not mean he will not get back to where he was. He has been inconsistent since coming back from TJ surgery, but he has at times been brilliant. Also, the Dodgers could just go out and buy a pitcher if they needed to. The Pirates could look to a guy like Triolo replacing him, and they still would have a good defender.


Ke’Brittle has his OWN injury history.


Pass that Doobie


I’m a bong man myself. Or at least, I USED to be. 🙂



Share article

Pirates Prospects Daily

Latest articles

Pirates Prospects Weekly

MONDAY: First Pitch

TUESDAY: Article Drop


THURSDAY: Roundtable

FRIDAY: Discussion

SATURDAY: Pirates Winter Report

SUNDAY: Pirates Business

Latest comments

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x