GUSTAVO NUNEZ, SHORTSTOP
|Born: February 8, 1988
Signed: International Free Agent, 2007 (Tigers)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Nunez will be on his second go-round with the Pirates, although he hardly played at all the first time. They chose him from the Tigers in the 2011 Rule 5 draft, but he missed nearly all of the 2012 season due to an ankle injury and eventually ended up back with the Tigers. He’s a good defensive shortstop, but he’s mostly struggled at the plate and he largely wasted the 2012-13 seasons. He has good speed but it hasn’t translated into base stealing skill. He was suspended in 2009 for unspecified “conduct detrimental to the team.” He has yet to play in the majors.
Had a solid debut in the DSL. Nunez played short there exclusively.
Nunez played only briefly in rookie ball and then moved up to high A, which is a large jump. He didn’t hit much, with no power at all. He played a little at second, but mostly at short, a pattern that continued in later years.
The Tigers sent Nunez down to low A and he hit well, even showing some power. He ran a lot, but not especially well. He did have the suspension.
Nunez moved back up to high A and didn’t hit at all.
Returning to the FSL for a third season, Nunez finally started to hit, but at 23 he was old for the level. He struggled in a late-season stint in AA, until an early-August ankle injury ended his season.
Although Nunez was expected to be ready for spring training, he wasn’t and ended up having surgery on the ankle. He didn’t surface until August, when he got into 14 games on rehab assignments at three different levels. When Altoona finished its season, rather than calling him up the Pirates left Nunez on the 60-day disabled list, stating that his ankle still wasn’t healthy. After the season, the Pirates placed Nunez on waivers and Arizona claimed him. Because he missed all of his Rule 5 year, the Diamondbacks would have had to keep him in the majors throughout 2013. Two months later, though, they returned him to the Tigers and Detroit outrighted him to AAA.
Detroit sent Nunez to AAA, where he spent the season mostly playing short and second. Considering that he had very little experience, and no success, above class A, it probably wasn’t a sensible assignment. Nunez played very sparingly after May, although there were no long periods in which he didn’t play, so he doesn’t seem to have had any major injury. When he was on the field, he had a very rough time at the plate. The Tigers released him after the season and he signed a minor league contract with Atlanta.
The Braves sent Nunez to AA, where he played semi-regularly, mostly at short but some at second and in the outfield. He made significant progress at the plate. Of course, by then he was 26, thanks to the time the Rule 5 draft cost him. He became a free agent after the season.
Nunez went to Indianapolis and, with Justin Sellers injured, was the regular shortstop off and on. How much he played depended a lot on whether Pedro Florimon or Gift Ngoepe was available. Nunez hit for average, without much power or many walks. He probably wasn’t as good defensively as Florimon of Ngoepe.
Nunez will be a free agent after the season.
|2015: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 12/8/2011 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|May 3, 2007: Signed as an international free agent by the Detroit Tigers.
December 8, 2011: Selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
October 26, 2012: Claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
December 21, 2012: Returned by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Detroit Tigers; outrighted to AAA.
November 5, 2013: Released by the Detroit Tigers.
November 30, 2013: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Atlanta Braves.
November 4, 2014: Became a free agent.
November 18, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.