From Mississippi to pro ball: 2023 first-rounder Jacob Gonzalez makes the leap with the Chicago White Sox

Jacob Gonzalez had a full day on Sept. 16 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The shortstop met with Chicago White Sox supervisor Pedro Grifol, threw a ceremonial first pitch earlier than the group’s recreation in opposition to the Minnesota Twins and even swung by the reward store.

The 2023 first-round MLB draft decide toured the ballpark he’s aiming to name the house after starting his skilled baseball journey.

Gonzalez appeared in 34 video games with the Arizona Complex League White Sox (4 contests) and Class A Kannapolis (30) this season.

“It was a lot of fun,” Gonzalez mentioned. “Coming from college to the minors, it’s nice to be done with school and focus on baseball every day. I like playing every day. It’s a change of pace obviously because in college, you only play four times a week. Having games every day is fun, being able to compete every day.”

The Sox chosen Gonzalez with the No. 15 decide of the MLB draft out of Mississippi on July 9. The Sox introduced phrases on a deal that includes a $3.9 million signing bonus on July 16 and Gonzalez was off to the minors, making his debut July 24.

“I watched some of the games,” Grifol mentioned. “It’s good to have him part of the organization. He looks like a really good baseball player.”

Gonzalez, 21, slashed .211/.333/.260 with three doubles, one dwelling run, 17 RBIs and 18 runs. The left-handed hitter had 23 walks and 25 strikeouts.

“Basically our philosophy back in Seattle was the first year, just let them play,” mentioned Grifol, who was within the Mariners group from 2000-12. “Very little instruction, simply allow them to play and in the event that they ask questions you reply them. Just go do your factor and revel in it. And then within the offseason, you employ all of your sources to organize for the season. Teach him it’s an extended season and also you’ve obtained to actually put together your physique nicely for that grind.

“It’s a little different game coming from college where you’re playing three or four times a week to playing every single day. I know nowadays minor leagues have a day off on Mondays, which makes it easier. That first year is always a learning experience on and off the field, how to really get through a minor-league season, a professional season.”

Gonzalez plans to work on his protection and offense in the course of the offseason.

“I always keep wanting to get better (defensively),” he mentioned. “I think ground balls are a lot of fun. It’s fun to get better that way. This past season I didn’t hit that good. It’s not going to be the same. I’m going to hit better than that. Just working on how my body moves when I’m hitting and perfecting it so that it’s easier because giving yourself a disadvantage when you are hitting, there are already too many disadvantages while you are hitting.”

Gonzalez made six errors and had a .961 fielding share in 33 video games at shortstop. He was a chosen hitter in a single recreation.

“I like to work on it and show them I can be a shortstop,” Gonzalez mentioned.

Gonzalez, who’s 6-foot-2, listed Texas Rangers All-Star Corey Seager, who’s 6-foot-4, for example of a taller participant getting it finished at shortstop.

“I always look at Corey Seager, who is (one of) the tallest shortstops right now,” Gonzalez mentioned. “He’s doing it, so I can do it too.”

At the plate, Gonzalez slashed .327/.435/.564 with 18 doubles, 10 dwelling runs, 51 RBIs and 46 runs in 54 video games with Mississippi and earned Second Team All-SEC honors this season.

He mentioned he took away so much going through the standard of pitching he noticed in the course of the first go-around within the minors.

“The pitching is better than college, you don’t see the velocity all the time in college,” Gonzalez mentioned. “Just getting used to the velocity is the biggest thing. It will come with time.”

He’s assured he’ll make the mandatory changes.

“I’ve done it before,” mentioned Gonzalez, a Southern California native. “Adjusted to velocity from high school to college. I know it’s in me to do it. I just have to figure it out.”