The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Wednesday they have signed their top draft pick, shortstop Nick Gonzales.
Pittsburgh grabbed Gonzales, the standout from New Mexico State University, with the No. 7 overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the draft was shortened to five rounds and was entirely online.
Wednesday was the first-round pick’s first time at PNC Park. Alongside his mom, dad and girlfriend, he explained how incredible of a moment it was to take the field.
“It was so jaw-dropping just to walk into this park, and see how beautiful it is with the city right behind us,” said Gonzales. “Getting to step on the field was incredible for me because you can go to a park and see how beautiful it is, but you see it a little different when you actually get on the field. For me that was really special.”
Gonzales, 21, was named the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s National Player-of-the-Year in 2020 and a first-team All-American by the same publication after hitting .448 (26-for-58) with three doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 36 RBI in 16 games before the NCAA season was cut short.
Gonzales also ranked first in the NCAA in 2020 in home runs (12), runs scored (28), RBI (36) and total bases (67) while switching from second base to shortstop this past season with the Aggies.
The first rounder said he’s gearing up for whatever the team tells him next.
“Whenever anything is up and ready, I’ll be ready to play,” said Gonzales. “When it get called to go do whatever it may be, I’ll be ready.”
First-year GM Ben Cherington issued a statement regarding their first-round pick:
“We are thrilled to add Nick Gonzales to the Pirates family,” Cherington said in a release. “Nick has been an elite performer at every level of his baseball career. Nick has a broad skill set which allows him to impact multiple areas of the game. Just as importantly, Nick has demonstrated a deep passion for the game and for learning and improvement. We believe those qualities will allow him to continue finding new levels of performance and, one day, to become a valuable member of our Major League team. We welcome Nick and his family to the Pirates.”
Gonzales received a reported signing bonus of about $5.4 million, which is the full slot value for where he was drafted.
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