New Mexico State’s Gonzales a projected top-5 pick in MLB Draft

NMSU

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) –

Make no mistake: There will probably never be another MLB Draft quite like the one that will occur in 2020.

COVID-19 means that Major League Baseball will likely shorten the 40-round process to as few as five or 10 rounds. While it won’t be remembered fondly for some players, for stars like New Mexico State’s Nick Gonzales who expects to be a top 5 or 10 overall selection, it’s still going to be a life-changing moment.

“It’s super exciting for me and its definitely surreal. It doesn’t make sense in my head yet,” Gonzales said.

According to a CBS Sports mock draft released on Tuesday, the Aggie superstar is projected to be taken second overall by the Baltimore Orioles. Since no games are being played, the draft process will be different for Gonzales this year. He’s begun having conversations with prospective teams.

“Any conversations are good right now because you can’t watch the players play and you have to get to know them on a personal level,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’ work as a prospect is basically done. When he won MVP of the prestigious Cape Cod League, he went from an unknown guy from a small school, to a can’t miss talent.

“It’s serious hitting instincts, the pitch recognition and controlling the zone,” said D1 Baseball managing editor Aaron Fitt. “Natural hand-eye coordination and ability to find barrels. It’s just really special.”

While the round reductions MLB is considering for the 2020 Draft won’t hurt his draftability, it will affect how much money Gonzales makes immediately. His first round signing bonus will be millions of dollars, but MLB is now severely limiting how much of that bonus 2020 prospects receive right away.

“Let’s say Nick signs for $5 million, he can only get $100,000 in 2020,” said D1 Baseball managing editor Kendall Rogers. “So you get a payment of $100,000 and then the other payments for your signing bonus come in the next two years.”

The money will be life-changing, but it’s baseball that Gonzales loves. He’s counting down the days until he can play again and prove himself in the majors.

“When it does happen, when we do start playing I’m going to be ready. So I’m going to keep training and I enjoy training and putting the work in and everything like that,” Gonzales said.

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