LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – The hype is real. Nick Gonzales will become New Mexico State’s highest drafted player in the baseball program’s history on Wednesday night in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Some mock drafts have the middle infielder going as high as No. 2 overall to the Baltimore Orioles, the same team that spent a 2019 fourth round pick on Joey Ortiz, Gonzales’ teammate at NMSU. Ortiz is currently the highest drafted player in NMSU history, at least for another 24 hours.
“I’m super excited and pretty happy to be honest,” said Gonzales in an interview with NMSU play-by-play man Adam Young. “It has been about eight months now, just waiting. I’m ready to go. These past three months have gone by really slow, but this past week has been exciting and I’m really looking forward to it. Whatever happens, happens. I’m fortunate and blessed to be where I’m at today playing baseball.”
Standing at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds — Gonzales is a projected second basemen at the next level. He began receiving interest from major league scouts after being named the MVP of the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2019. He’s now on the doorstep to becoming a professional baseball player, a lifelong dream of his that he never gave up on.
“I’ve thought more about it [MLB Draft] that I probably have my whole life,” said Gonzales. “I never really thought about the draft. I just always thought if you’re good, you play professional baseball. I just didn’t think about the draft and learning more about it this year was pretty fun and it’s going to be special.”
Gonzales took the road less traveled than that of any other player projected in the top 10 of this year’s draft. He played his high school baseball at Cienega High School in Vail, Arizona. After hitting .543 his senior year, he was not highly recruited out of high school. Former New Mexico State head baseball coach Brian Green, who is now the head coach at Washington State, offered Gonzales an opportunity as a walk-on. He didn’t look back after that. Gonzales was named Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year in a shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19. He batted .448 with 12 home runs and 36 runs batted in. He finished his Aggie career with a .502 on-base percentage in 128 games.
The opportunity Green gave Gonzales to prove himself as one of college baseball’s top players has not only paid off for Gonzales, but NMSU as well. Both will be featured in the limelight when Gonzales’ name is called early in the first round on Wednesday night, making history in the process.