Nick Gonzales About to Become Highest Local MLB Draft Pick Ever
While Major League Baseball appears far apart from a potential settlement with the Players Association and a 2020 season, the MLB Amateur Draft will be held a week from today. Although the draft will be condensed to only five rounds, one local standout will not have to worry about hearing his name called. In fact, NMSU All-American Nick Gonzales is about the make history.
The Aggies second baseman will become the highest drafted player in area history. Many baseball analysts are expecting the power hitter from Vail, Arizona to be selected in the first ten picks. In his latest mock draft, MLB.com's Jim Callis sees the power hitting middle infielder going fourth to the Kansas City Royals, while both ESPN's Kiley McDaniel and Keith Law from The Athletic have Gonzales going sixth to the Seattle Mariners. Baseball America has the Pittsburgh Pirates drafting the NMSU star with the seventh pick.
The MLB Amateur Draft was first held in 1965. Regardless of where Gonzales ends up, the NMSU junior will be the highest ever drafted baseball player from either El Paso or Las Cruces, but he was not the only first round pick from the area. Former Hanks high school and University of Arizona catcher Alan Zinter was drafted as the 24th overall by the New York Mets in 1989. Former Socorro High and University of Texas star Omar Quintanilla was taken by the Oakland A's in the first round, 33rd overall in 2003. Bruce Ruffin, who also starred at Hanks and Texas was taken in the second round, 34th overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1985 MLB Draft. The highest player ever drafted from NMSU is Joey Ortiz, who was taken in the fourth round, 108th overall by the Baltimore Orioles last year.