Scouting director Nick Hostetler is always fired up about draft picks, especially ones taken early. After landing Luis Gonzalez on the third round in 2017, he was more ecstatic than usual.
“Luis is a five-tool type of center fielder,” Hostetler said. “At one point we had discussed, should we not like our options, was he an option there at No. 11 (overall)? That was early on in the process, and I don’t want anybody to think we had another first-rounder in the third, but he was a guy that we felt fell to a position that was lower than what his skills were.”
Gonzalez has made Hostetler and the Sox look very wise over the past two seasons.
In 2018, the 23-year-old University of New Mexico product combined to hit .307/.368/.498 with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. Gonzalez’s 40 doubles were the most in the organization.
While he is expected to spend much of the upcoming season at Double-A Birmingham, Gonzalez was thrilled to be invited to his first major league spring training this spring.
“The goal is just prove to myself that I can compete with the best, the best in the White Sox organization,” Gonzalez said. “I come here to have fun and pick all these great guys’ brains and try to improve.”
For as good as he’s been since joining the Sox, Gonzalez is often overlooked by a large group of talented outfield prospects, including Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo and Steele Walker. There’s also Luis Alexander Basabe, who is likely out until mid-May after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand early in spring training.
Gonzalez is just happy to be in the deep mix of outfield talent.
“I don’t let that get in my head,” he said. “I just go out there and compete and compete the best that I can and perform as best I can. Let the results do the talking. I’m not here to compare myself to other people.”
A bit undersized at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Gonzalez is used to having to stand up and show what he can do.
“When people are saying good stuff about you, it absolutely feels good,” he said. “When they’re not, it just makes you want to prove them even more wrong. Just a little sense of motivation for me and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”