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Top Pick Signed

SS Gonzales officially member of Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Wednesday they have signed shortstop Nick Gonzales, the club’s first-round selection — seventh overall — in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft.

The 21-year-old Gonzales 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 for New Mexico State University.

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. Gonzales also owned a nation-best on-base streak of 82 games at the time the 2020 season was suspended.

“We are thrilled to add Nick Gonzales to the Pirates family,” said Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington. “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.”

During his sophomore season in 2019, Gonzales led the nation in batting average (.432) while being named an All-American by six different publications. He was also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award (nation’s best amateur player) while being ranked as the top second baseman in the country by D1Baseball.

Following the conclusion of the 2019 season at New Mexico State, Gonzales was named the MVP of the prestigious Cape Cod League after hitting .351 (54 for 154) with 14 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 33 RBI in 42 games. In his first season at New Mexico State in 2018, Gonzales was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Freshman of the Year and an all-WAC first-team selection while leading New Mexico State with a .347 average. He also led the team and conference with a .596 slugging percentage while being recognized as a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman All-American.

Gonzales was rated as the No. 5 overall draft prospect by both MLBPipeline and Baseball America. Baseball America also tabbed him as the third-best “Hitter” and as having the fourth-best “Strike Zone Judgment” among college position players in this year’s draft. He became the highest player drafted in New Mexico State history and the 66th player drafted in the college’s history after beginning his career with the Aggies as a walk-on.

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