Player: Alex Gonzalez
Drafted by: Texas Rangers (No. 23 Overall)
DOB: 1/15/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'3"/200 lbs
School: Oral Roberts University
Previously Drafted: 2010—11th Round by Baltimore Orioles
While not one of the big overpowering arms in this year's class, Gonzalez pushed himself into the first-round conversation by showing three pitches that project as average or better in professional baseball and the ability to mix and match offerings to keep opponents off balance.
Previously drafted by Baltimore out of high school, Gonzalez has been a star at Oral Roberts for three years. His stuff is light years better than it was before, and he has a solid frame that should hold up well over 200 innings.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Good pitcher's frame; carries himself well on the mound; clean, quiet delivery with no extraneous movement; slightly shorter stride to plate than you would like, but nothing that puts extra stress on his arm; good balance and really drives forward toward the plate; clean finish, always in position to field the ball.
Average velocity (91-93); can touch mid-90s at times, but pitch tends to flatten out when he does; not great movement on four-seamer; will also throw cut fastball that has above-average movement; stays on top of ball well to keep it down in the zone; uses heater to set up everything else; very aggressive and attacks in the zone; pitch could play up at next level thanks to ability to keep it low.
Best pitch in arsenal; hard velocity, usually in the 84-87 mph range; good tilt and late break; excellent feel for the pitch already, could get even better in the future; will use to put away hitters; throws in the zone or can get ugly swings out of the zone; projects as plus pitch at next level.
Still gaining feel and confidence for changeup; works mostly fastball-slider in college; even if pitch doesn't become above-average offering, only needs to show it on occasion because multiple fastballs and slider combination can carry him; if change does develop, could increase ceiling quite a bit.
Has feel for arsenal right now; consistent strike thrower with good movement on cutter; slider is bread and butter; does need to find consistency with changeup; already showing improvement and will continue to get better with confidence and ability to pitch off fastball.
Always works in the zone; can throw too many pitches over the fat part of the plate, but generates a lot of weak contact thanks to movement on cutter and slider; will have to spot changeup and fastball to keep professional hitters honest.
MLB Player Comparison: Brandon McCarthy
Projection: No. 3 starter on first-division team with a couple of better (outlier) seasons.
MLB ETA: 2015
Chances of Signing: 80%
Gonzalez has had quite the rise up draft boards this spring, showing tremendous pitchability and sequencing, making it highly unlikely that he is going to make it back to Oral Roberts for his senior season.
Even though Gonzalez's stuff doesn't necessarily blow you away, it is a good arsenal and he has the potential to move quickly through a system. That, combined with a nice seven-figure signing bonus, will push him to professional baseball.