- Full name Angel Manuel Gonzalez
- Born 12/15/1981 in Reo Piedras, Puerto Rico
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Florida Air Academy
- Debut 04/25/2007
Drafted in the 5th round (163rd overall) by the Chicago White Sox in 2001.
View Draft ReportThe second-best Puerto Rican prospect in the draft, Gonzalez is one of three top prospects from the island playing at Florida Air Academy. His best tool is his arm, and he has a low-90s fastball, but he has little interest in pitching. He prefers playing shortstop, though he's 6-foot-3 and some scouts don't think he gets down on balls well enough to stay there. He does have the hands and range to play short. He doesn't have the power to play third base, so the team that drafts him will have to envision him as a shortstop. The Dodgers have expressed a lot of interest and could take him in the third or fourth round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Just a year ago, the White Sox saw Gonzalez as their shortstop of the future. No longer. His 2003 season raised major questions about his approach as a hitter, and his problems at the plate seemed to carry over to the field. Outside of drawing walks, Gonzalez couldn't do anything against low Class A pitching. He didn't hit the ball with any authority and didn't deal with adversity well. Projections for his power aren't nearly as kind as they were before, and the Sox would like him to just focus on raising his average. He runs well but gets caught stealing more than he should. Gonzalez has the tools to be a good defensive shortstop, starting with a strong arm that had some clubs considering drafting him as a pitcher out of high school. His range is adequate but he must cut down on his errors. With the addition of Robert Valido and the emergence of Mike Morse, Gonzalez suddenly faces a lot of competition to see who becomes the organization's first homegrown regular at shortstop since Bucky Dent. He has a lot to prove in 2004, when he'll probably start in high Class A.
An all-around athlete, Gonzalez opened eyes immediately after being drafted. He and fellow 2001 pick Anthony Webster have made a smooth transition to pro ball and should continue climbing the ladder together. Gonzalez has the tools to last as a shortstop and is a dangerous hitter who has batted .298 as a pro with 75 RBIs in 114 games. While balls jump off his bat, his best tool might be his arm. Some clubs considered drafting Gonzalez as a pitcher. He covers ground well at shortstop and has improved his fundamentals greatly since being drafted. Because the Sox opted to give him time in extended spring training in 2002, Gonzalez hasn't had to face a year-long grind of playing games. He's expected to develop some power but went deep just once in 2002. Gonzalez' stock will soar if he goes to low Class A and duplicates his Rookie-ball success. He could move quickly in a system that lacks middle-infield depth and gives the Sox a chance for their first homegrown regular at shortstop since Bucky Dent in 1976.
It has been 26 seasons since the White Sox had a homegrown regular at shortstop. They've spent several high draft picks trying to end that drought, including a first-rounder on Jason Dellaero in 1997. Since trading Bucky Dent after 1976, they've gone outside the organization for their last 11 primary shortstops, with only Ozzie Guillen having staying power. Gonzalez, a fifth-round pick in the 2001 draft, played well enough in the Arizona League to establish himself as a strong candidate to end the trend. He's a big kid in the mold of Alex Rodriguez and shows the potential to develop into a run-producing hitter as well as a solid fielder. The ball jumps off his bat with 25-homer potential. Gonzalez moves well at short but piled up errors in his pro debut, which was to be expected. His arm is above average. Some teams, in fact, considered drafting him as a pitcher after he threw in the low 90s following his move from Puerto Rico to a Florida high school for his senior year. His few critics question how he will hold up to a full-season grind. The only other question is how Gonzalez lasted until the fifth round of the draft.
Minor League Top Prospects
Six-foot-4 shortstops are still a rare breed, but every Arizona League manager believes Gonzalez will remain at the position because of his lean and athletic frame. "He's got the arm and range, and the ball jumps off his bat," Brewers manager Carlos Lezcano said. "He needs to mature a little bit because he doesn't play at 100 percent all the time" Gonzalez has a chance to be an offensive force, as he hit five homers and drives balls well to the gaps. He's by no means a complete player, however. "He needs work on his throwing motion," Cubs manager Carmelo Martinez said, "but he runs well and has good hands."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Chicago White Sox in 2005