Strong resume for Bucs’ top pick
From Mirror, wire reports
With the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates took highly-touted New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzales.
Gonzales was the 2019 Cape Cod League Most Valuable Player winner. He beat up on pitching in the Western Athletic Conference for two seasons.
He batted .347 in 2018 with 9 home runs in 36 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .596 while his fielding percentage was .953.
In 2019, he batted .432 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .773. His field also improved to .963.
This season, in just 16 games before the coronavirus shut down all of the sports world, Gonzales hit 12 home runs, drove in 36 runs, and finished with 67 total bases in those 16 games.
With the selection, it also marked the first time in the history of the 56-year old draft that a high school player was not selected by a team in the top seven picks.
The signing bonus slot value of the No. 7 pick according to MLB is $5,432, 400.
Gonzales is tied as the highest-selected player ever to come out of Tuscon, Arizona since the Pirates drafted Sammy Khalifa seventh in the 1982 MLB draft.
Gonzales, who did not receive many Division I offers coming out of high school, walked on at New Mexico State before becoming an NCAA batting champion as well as winning the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year award this past spring.
With a pick in the Competitive Balance A round, the Pirates, with the 31st pick, took South Carolina pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski. He went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA this past spring with the Gamecocks. As a freshman in 2019, he struck out 43 batters in 35-plus innings of work.
On the same day as the draft, the Pirates also announced the releasing of 39 players from their Minor League system.
Pittsburgh did pay its Minor League players through June, and they also received their benefits through the month.
Some of the more notable names included right-handed pitcher Luis Escobar, who played in the 2017 Futures Game as part of All-Star week. He also made his MLB debut with Pittsburgh last season.
Also let go was outfielder Juan Pie, who was signed for $500,000 in 2017 out of the Dominican Republic. Pitcher Yordi Rosario, who the Pirates got from the White Sox in the Ivan Nova trade in 2018, was let go. Conner Uselton, a third-round pick in 2017, was released.
Pie, who is 18, hit just .231 last season in the Gulf Coast League.
Pedro Vasquez, a 24-year-old pitcher who made it to Triple-A last season, was also released.