Sunday, November 4, 2001, a day all Arizona Diamondbacks fans remember fondly as it was the night Luis Gonzalez blooped a World Series winning single off Mariano Rivera to give the franchise it’s first title in just their fourth season in existence.
Fast forward to a Monday night in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 12th of this year, where the Gonzalez family is holding a small draft party as Luis’ son Jacob is a highly thought of infielder with a commitment to TCU. In the second round, pick 58 overall, the Arizona Diamondbacks division rival San Francisco Giants selected Jacob Gonzalez.
Jacob is now playing baseball in Arizona like he long has, but this time it is wearing a Giants uniform and playing pro ball in the Arizona Rookie League. He is hitting .336/.445/.449 going into Monday and has adapted well to pro ball.
Though he has yet to hit his first pro home run, there is real power in his bat. He has ten doubles already, and showed plenty of home run ability in his amateur career at Chaparral High and club ball with T-Rex Baseball, where I saw him a number of times.
He will add even more strength to an already strong 6’3” 190 lbs. frame. He has a wide base with good balance and has solid pitch recognition which has resulted in him walking more than he has struck out thus far. His bat gets through the zone well and with a plane that result in plenty of line drives.
He does have a habit of pulling his head too often that results in some soft contact on pitches he should be able to drive.
In the field I have seen him at third, first and the outfield, with first being the most obvious long term position for him. He has an average arm at best and below average quickness and glove isn’t what you are looking for in a third baseman.
Gonzalez is very slow, making the infield dirt look like quick sand when he is running the bases and further enforcing the long term first baseman outlook rather than making left field much of a possibility.
Despite the lack of speed and the positional limitations, Gonzalez is a solid prospect. He could develop into a 30 plus home run guy in time and do it with a solid average. He can become a prototypical first baseman but without the typical strike out rate you see in a power bat these days. With the family genes and approach at the plate, I would put his ceiling as a poor man’s Joey Votto.