Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #29: 1B, Utility Yariel Gonzalez
Undrafted Free Agent signed in 2016
WHY TO GET EXCITED
I had already written a bunch of stuff, but then the site-provider for Birds On The Black, WIX, has the quirky little thing where it deletes post. So, this is going to be shorter than other posts because, really, "thanks, WIX."
Yariel is sneaky-good and his value is hard to quantify. Yes, he has a wRC+ of 120 on the season, but I don't think that tells the entire story of his worth to a team.
Gonzalez has played every position on the diamond with the exception of catcher and center field.
Gonzalez has tremendous bat-to-ball skills. Like Rangel Ravelo just a couple of levels above him, Gonzalez is a very mature hitter.
Yariel can hit the ball to all fields
He's working tirelessly to become a viable utility player.
Yariel is a feisty hitter that usually ends up being a nuisance to pitchers.
He's the kind of player that you root for. Undrafted out of an NAIA school, Gonzalez deserves your attention for the work that he's put in to make it this far. He's a class Cardinals farm hand that all Cardinals fans should get behind.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
He's slow. He's isn't a particularly good fielder at any position other than first.
He doesn't hit for much power. The power that he's shown this season is more a product of playing against a league that he's too advanced for.
Speaking of which, Yariel is too old for Peoria. He needs the next test. His stats are skewed because of the advantage he has over the experience and polish in that league.
He has a limited ceiling. He's, more than likely, organizational depth.
Look, Yariel is limited. He's a great player at the minor league level. The question now becomes "what's going to carry him the rest of the way?"
The easiest comparison to make when it comes to Yariel Gonzalez is to go to two players already in the organization. Yariel is some combo of Rangel Ravelo and John Nogowski. Honestly, this spot on the list should go to Ravelo, but I'm kind of bored of him. Gonzalez presents an unknown. If his power develops and allows him to stick at first then we have something. He's a great story, regardless!
Thanks to Fangraphs for the stats. Donate to their site, why don't ya?
Thanks For Reading!!