How you rank Pedro Gonzalez as a prospect heavily depends on how you view teenagers still in Latin American academies. The 6'3, 160 lb. 18 year-old SS/3B was the prized signing of Colorado's 2014 Latin American free agent pool, receiving a $1.3 million bonus. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs ranked him the 14th best prospect in the system prior to the 2015, before Gonzalez had played a professional inning. McDaniel had this to say in his scouting report:
He's good at shortstop now and makes a lot of contact despite his age (16) and size due to his rare body control; scouts mention Manny Machado and Alex Rios as body comps. Gonzalez likely ends up at third base and develops at least average raw power, but, for now, he's more of a contact hitter; if/when/how he handles added weight will dictate his future.
Once he did take the field professionally, Gonzalez quickly showed what made him such a highly touted player in summer 2014 with a blistering start, though he cooled down in the second half in the Dominican Summer League. Normally, a .251/.318/.418 line with eight homers and 24 extra base hits in 282 plate appearances is a decent debut for a prospect. Take that line and add in the fact that it was done by a 17 year-old against pitchers on average over a year older than him in a league where pitchers generally dominate, and you have a promising year by a talented prospect -- Gonzalez's line adds up to 108 wRC+ (8 percent better than average). Consider that Carlos Herrera (PuRP 30) in a similar situation had a 71 wRC+ in the DSL in 2014, then a 91 wRC+ in his stateside debut in 2015.
There are caveats and warts, of course. Gonzalez benefited from a .333 BABIP and struck out in 28.7 percent of his plate appearances while walking just 6.7% of the time. He also committed 27 errors in 57 games, showing that the defense remains unpolished. Most of all, he's a long ways away from the big leagues -- he has the farthest away ETA of any player on this PuRPs list, and I don't blame many voters for taking a wait and see approach with Gonzalez until he gets stateside.
Still, if you combine his decent production in the DSL so far with the scouting accolades Gonzalez has already received, you have the potential for a special prospect. I rated the tools (particularly power potential), ceiling, and production pretty highly -- placing Gonzalez 23rd on my ballot. If Gonzalez can maintain this level of production in his move stateside next year, I think there's top 20 Rockies prospect potential here as soon as 2016. Like Carlos Herrera in 2015, Gonzalez might debut in the DSL next year but will make his way stateside to a short season affiliate shortly thereafter.
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