Pittsburgh Pirates Select Tucson Native Nick Gonzales Seventh Overall

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

New Mexico State middle infielder and Tucson native Nick Gonzales has always been seemingly overlooked. 

Doubters would point to the Aggies’ favorable ballpark and conference for hitters when Gonzales hit .399 with a 1.249 OPS, 37 home runs and 152 RBI while at Las Cruxes.

They seemed to point that his 5-foot-10 frame couldn’t produce at a high level with a wood bat against elite arms.

But after a a strong showing in the Cape Cod League…with a wood bat….against the nation’s elite arms, all the sudden Gonzales’ stock skyrocketed.

It skyrocketed all the way to the seventh overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2020 MLB draft.

“He has always had to prove himself and he uses his body, maximizes his body to the point of contact, puts himself in great position to hit the ball up the middle,” ESPN’s Eduardo Perez said on the draft broadcast. “If it’s away, he can hit it the other way. He had a few home runs in the Cape to the opposite field. A lot of people questioned his exit velocity. He continues to prove the evaluators wrong, especially the analytic data. The scouts love what they see out of him.”

Gonzales hit an astounding .399 with 127 hits, 27 doubles, 7 home runs and 38 RBI for Cienega High School from 2014-17.

The 2019 Division I batting champ and first team All-American is another Tucson product to head to the state of Pennsylvania over recent years. Former University of Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman was selected by the Pirates 19th overall in 2015, and his Wildcat teammate Scott Kingery was a second round selection by the Philadelphia Phillies in the same draft.