By: Shane Petagna (The University of Tampa)
The third member of the most recent Cotuit CCBL championship team has made it to the show. Joining Matt Mervis and Casey Schmitt, the 2019 Cape League MVP Nick Gonzales is now part of the Pittsburgh Pirates major league roster as of Friday.
“I’m so thrilled that three guys off that 2019 team are in the big leagues with Matt Mervis, Casey Schmitt, and Nick Gonzales and I can see them out on this field in the championship game,” said coach Mike Roberts to sideline reporter Lily Butler after Friday’s game.
Gonzales had a short stint with Cotuit in 2018 before batting .351 in 42 games on his way to winning the Pat Sorenti MVP Award in 2019. The infielder reached base safely in all but one game on his way to a .451 on-base percentage and OPS of 1.081. He was top-five in all major offensive categories in the 2019 CCBL season.
The next summer, Pittsburgh drafted him No. 7 overall out of New Mexico State. With the Aggies, Gonzales batted over .400 in his sophomore and junior seasons and won numerous awards over this three collegiate seasons. Gonzales capped off his time with New Mexico State by being named the 2020 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year.
Gonzales made his way through the Pittsburgh farm system and had an .820 OPS with the triple-A Indianapolis Indians before getting the call.
“Nick is like a son to me. I work for the Pirates, he’s in the Pirates organization and he was MVP of the Cape League and we always knew he would play in the big league,” said Roberts, who was choked up talking about Gonzales. “But to hear that announcement today, I can see his family and his fiancee. I wrote him a note and I couldn’t be any more thrilled. It’s like one of my children.”
Gonzales batted seventh and played second base in his major league debut on Friday.