Kettleers Korner - Where's Nick Gonzales
Kettleers Korner-Where’s Nick Gonzales
By Roy Reiss
There have been many major leaguers who got their start playing in the Cape League for the Cotuit Kettleers over the past 75 years. If you were to peek at the wall inside the 3rd base dugout at Lowell Park, you’d see the entire list of former Kettleers who have made it to the big leagues.
One who isn’t on the list just yet, had perhaps the greatest single season in the long and storied history of the Kettleers. Think back to the championship 2019 season and Nick Gonzales, at the time a rising junior from New Mexico State, had some eye-popping statistics on his way to earning the league’s Most Valuable Player trophy. The young 2nd baseman appeared in 42 regular season games, hitting .351 with 7 home runs, 7 triples, 33 RBI, and 54 hits. In the playoffs, Gonzales hit .361 with 13 hits and 8 RBI. All of this while committing only 6 errors in the field at 2nd base thru a total of 49 games.
It was this type of performance that excited the Kettleers faithful and all the major league scouts. It also propelled the Pittsburgh Pirates to select Gonzales seventh overall in the first round of the 2020 Major League draft. “It was just a dream come true, pure excitement and joy when I got drafted,” stated Gonzales recently. “As a little kid it’s been my dream to play professional baseball.”
So the journey to the majors began in the Pirates system with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Advanced A), then the Altoona Curve (Double AA) and this year with the Indianapolis Indians (Triple AAA). Every step in the process trying to improve. “Along the way you’re making adjustments every day as the competition is obviously getting better as you move up. The game gets a little faster so you have to slow that down a little bit,” added the former Kettleers.
And while Gonzales makes all those adjustments, he still stays in touch with many of the players on that 2019 Kettleers team and has some wonderful memories of his time that magical season. “I remember winning and ultimately winning the championship before the great crowd at Lowell Park. The Cape League is the best amateur baseball league in America and it was a wonderful experience playing every day against top competition. We had many guys continue their baseball career and even have had some make their major league debuts,” said Gonzales.
The dream of playing in the majors is very much alive which means Gonzales will have one more Lowell Park moment-he’ll get his name added to the wall in the home team’s 3rd base dugout.
Kettleers Korner will be anything and everything that might interest fans, past and present, about the Kettleers. Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Boston’s Channel 7 and several radio stations in Boston. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPN.