Angel Gonzalez = Picture via his Instagram
When the Cubs signed Angel Gonzalez, most people thought that he was an international free agent. That is not the case. Technically, he was a nondrafted free agent signing out of Puerto Rico. He went undrafted that summer and the Cubs inked him up at just 17-years-old. Like most pitchers signed after that draft, he did not get his career started that summer due to the pandemic. He would have to wait until 2021 to begin his career.
Height – 6-foot-2
Weight – 175 at signing
Throws – Right
From – Delgado, Corazol, Puerto Rico
Age – 20
Signed as a nondrafted free agent on July 8, 2020
Gonzalez and his career did not get off to the best start in 2021. In 19 games, he had an 8.36 ERA. That is not something you want to write home about. However, things were fixable. The biggest outlier in statistics was that he walked a lot of guys. However, there were signs of hope as he also struck out 32 and batters only hit .212 against him. It was a matter of control. And it has to be overwhelming to come from Puerto Rico and take a huge step up in competition in Arizona.
In 2022, Gonzalez spent most of the spring in extended spring training. At the very end of May, he would get the call to Myrtle Beach and that’s where he stayed for the rest of the year.
His monthly splits were all over the map. They ranged from 3.38 to 5.59 to 6.38 to 3.72. Walks were again the concern. The batting average against was a little higher in Myrtle Beach, but he was also striking out a batter an inning. There was something there if they could cut down on the walks.
In the offseason, Angel made some changes. Cubs roving pitching instructor Carlos Chantres described the changes in a recent interview I did with him:
What we did in instructs last year was to do some arm shortening. If you go back and watch his video from two years ago to now, it’s really shortened up his arm path. He’s able to repeat his delivery more which makes his pitches play a lot better in the zone
In 2023 they seem to have found another key…strength training. Yes, the weight room has paid big dividends as Gonzales has been lights out for most of 2023.
The year began with a 2.45 ERA in April, and then had a couple of bad outings in May that ruined his ERA for the month. But in June, he did not allow a run in seven appearances. He was named North Side Bound‘s reliever of the month. He struck out 11 and only walked one while opponents hit just .189 against him. And one other statistic that popped out is his ground ball rate this year has shot up where he’s getting almost 2 and 1/2 ground balls to one fly ball. Basically, it means he’s not being squared up.
I got to meet him last week in Beloit, and I am pretty excited to see where his career goes from here.