It turns out that Nationals shortstop prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez isn’t 19. Or that is he is Esmailyn Gonzalez for that matter.
Instead, sources have told SI.com that Gonzalez is actually 23 and that his real name is Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo.
Gonzalez was BA’s No. 10 Nationals prospect entering this season, which will be his third since singing a controversial, $1.4 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic. But given the revelations about his age, Gonzalez certainly would not have made BA’s Nationals Top 10 list. In fact, as a 23-year-old with modest tools playing in the Gulf Coast League, he would not have ranked in the Top 30.His bonus was the largest international signing bonus in Nationals history but controversial because Washington’s description of him as a five-tool talent didn’t square with the evaluations from scouts of other clubs. Nicknamed "Smiley" for his energy and enthusiasm, Gonzalez hit .343/.431/.475 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 181 at-bats in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2008. But in light of his age, he should have been dominating that level.
The Nationals had planned on sending Gonzalez to low Class A this year, but in light of the age revelations, he likely will have to be promoted on a much more aggressive timetable to try to regain some prospect status.