The Mariners were thrilled to sign Venezuelan corner outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez as part of their 2020-21 international class.
Since then, all he’s done is continue to impress.
Over the past two seasons, the 18-year-old righthanded-hitting Gonzalez has moved quickly through Seattle’s system. His most recent promotion was a July 31 move from the Arizona Complex League to Low-A Modesto.
“There’s a learning velocity there that’s happening quickly,” Mariners farm director Andy McKay said.
“Each step of the way . . . every time he’s challenged, there’s a very quick adjustment to get him where he needs to be. And he’s proved that over and over again.”
Gonzalez, who signed for $1.3 million, had a strong 2021 pro debut in the Dominican Summer League. He slashed .287/.371/.521 in 54 games, with seven home runs and a league-high 26 extra-base hits.
Gonzalez then hit .321/.410/.468 in 67 games this season, about half of them in the California League. He totaled seven homers and 22 extra-base hits across both levels, while showing good bat-to-ball skills with a 14.5% strikeout rate.
Gonzalez stands just 5-foot-10, but he generates plus power to all fields with his strong and muscular frame.
“I saw him hit a ball out of a stadium (to the) opposite field this year,” McKay said. “The ability to impact the baseball, it’s different than the people he’s competing against.
“He’s very strong,” McKay added. “He knows how to use the ground and how to create force . . . And he continues to do great work in the weight room.”
Gonzalez complements his hitting with secondary skills. He has an above-average arm and has stolen 18 bases over the past two seasons.
“We think he can be a plus defender and really turn into an above-average everyday major league player—that so far is trending in a direction of maybe even being better than that,” McKay said.
“He’s met every challenge, and he’ll continue to progress as his performance dictates. We’re thrilled to have him and we have huge aspirations for what he’s gonna do for our organization.”
— The Mariners dealt 21-year-old lefthander Adam Macko to the Blue Jays as part of their Nov. 16 trade for slugging outfielder Teoscar Hernandez. Due to injuries, Macko pitched just 71.2 innings over the past two minor league seasons. But the Slovakian native showed electric stuff when healthy, posting a 36% strikeout rate across both levels of Class A during that span. He recently returned from injury to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.