There are a couple of players in Myrtle Beach who are performing like they are ready for a promotion to AA Frisco. One of them, of course, is Joey Gallo. The other one is righthanded pitcher Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, the Rangers' first first round pick from the 2013 draft.
Gonzalez, out of Oral Roberts, was thought by many to be a candidate to start the season in Frisco, but he was assigned to Myrtle Beach instead. That's not a slight for a guy who is in his first full season of pro ball, but I think the hope was that he'd show he was ready to move up the ladder fairly quickly.
Well, Gonzalez appears to be doing that. Most recently, Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the 7th inning for the Pelicans last night, and ended up with a line of 7 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 walks and 4 Ks. On the season, Gonzalez has a 2.28 ERA in 55.1 innings, with 41 strikeouts against 13 walks, and just a pair of homers allowed. Opposing hitters have just a .196/.259/.282 line against him on the year. Gonzalez has been particularly effective in his last four outings, giving up just 3 runs in 28 innings, and allowing a .143/.215/.194 slash line.
Folks who have watched Gonzalez rave about the movement on his pitches, and he has a natural cutting action which will make him particularly effective against lefties (he has allowed a 564 OPS to LH hitters so far this year, versus a 529 OPS to righties). C.J. Wittman tweeted this about Gonzalez while watching him last night:
#rangers Chi Chi Gonzalez 92-94; sink, can cut it. CH 83-86; fade/vertical action. SL 86-89; hard bite with tilt. CB 77-79; good shape— CJ Wittmann (@CJWittJr) May 20, 2014
#rangers Gonzalez working on FB command, glove side-arm side. Shows better to arm side. FB 91-95; cut in lower velo band.— CJ Wittmann (@CJWittJr) May 20, 2014
#rangers Chi Chi Gonzalez 92-95; arm-side sink; lot of 94, 95. CH 86; fade and vertical action. SL 89; plus bite and tight spin. 1-2-3 inn.— CJ Wittmann (@CJWittJr) May 20, 2014
The consensus seems to be that command is the main issue Gonzalez needs to work on...I've seen people say his pitches move so much that he doesn't always know where they are going, which obviously is an issue.
But Gonzalez was well-regarded going into the draft, and was viewed as being a great value pick at #23 -- I don't think most folks thought he'd last that long. Gonzalez probably isn't going to see Arlington this year, but he will probably be in Frisco before too long, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles that particular test.