by J.T. Toth
Photo of Jacob Gonzalez on March 25th, 2022 at Swayze Field in Oxford, MS. Photo by Josh McCoy | Ole Miss Athletics
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the #1 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, which is scheduled for July 9th-July 11th in Seattle, WA. This draft could be the final piece of GM Ben Cherington’s puzzle to catapult the Bucs into a yearly contender.
In the next few weeks, Draft 412 will showcase the top prospects coming out in 2023.
Name- Jacob Gonzalez
Pos-SS B-L T-R
Team- Ole Miss
HT/WT- 6’2” 200 lbs.
Home – Whittier , CA
Coming out of high school, Jacob Gonzalez was a top 150 ranked prospect nationally and a top 25 prospect from California. However, Gonzalez didn’t get selected in the MLB Draft out of high school and went on to honor his commitment to Ole Miss.
Gonzalez was a shortstop who many scouts thought (due to his size) would have to make a move to third base to be successful in the college ranks. Proving the scouts wrong, Gonzalez started at shortstop at Ole Miss from day one and excelled both in the field and with his bat.
During his first season of college ball, Gonzalez and his left-handed swing would put up monster numbers. He started in all 67 games and slashed .355/.443/.561 with 93 hits, 16-doubles, 12-home runs, 55 RBI’s, 38 walks and a 1.005 OPS. D1 Baseball named Gonzalez the National Freshman of the Year.
In his sophomore year, Gonzalez was a big reason that the Rebels won the National Championship. Though his batting average slipped to .273, he led Ole Miss in home runs with 18. He once again started in all 65 games and was named first team all-SEC.
So far in his junior campaign, Gonzalez has put up some impressive offensive numbers. He is hitting .327 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI’s and is mentioned as being the top SS selected in the 2023 MLB Draft. Coupled with an advanced hitting approach, scouts consider him a “plus power” from the left side of the plate. He has exceptional arm strength to go along with a consistent glove and with a good and patient eye at the plate, he understands what pitchers are trying to set him up to do. He possesses good hitting mechanics and a smooth, comfortable swing.
Still, some scouts think Gonzalez lacks the range to be a MLB SS. He has below-average foot speed, and insiders cite his lack of range and speed together, projecting him as a likely candidate to move to third base in the "bigs."
In truth, from the batter’s box, he does tend to try and pull pitches that he shouldn’t, and he has a bad habit at times when he is clamoring to hit a HR to get pull-happy and roll over on the ball.
Draft 412 sees some Corey Seager in this prospect. The left-handed swing and the way he can drive the ball to all gaps is eerily similar, not to mention Seager was thought of as a guy who would have to move to third base at times in his career.
Jacob Gonzalez will battle Jacob Wilson to become the first SS taken in the draft. We feel that Gonzalez has a higher ceiling than Wilson, but Wilson is a safer pick.
Round 1- Top 10/ #7 on Draft 412’s big board.
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.