LAS CRUCES, NM --It's a complicated time for baseball, and for New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales.
This week, after a 114-game counter-proposal from the players, Major League Baseball remains steadfast in its proposal for a pro-rated 48-game season in 2020. The players rejected the league's new proposal, leaving not only major league players in limbo, but also future major league draft picks--including Gonzales--wondering what their futures will look like.
Gonzales, a walk-on from Tucson, Arizona, has every accolade in the book: 2020 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year, 2019 NCAA Batting Champion (.432 batting average), 2019 Baseball America All-American, 2019 Cape Cod League MVP and 2018 WAC Freshman of the Year, just to name a few.
But on June 10th--at least according to MLB Draft experts--Gonzales will have one more accolade to add to his already impressive resume: top-10 MLB draft pick.
According to most MLB mock drafts, Gonzales is slated to be drafted as high as fourth, but mostly around fifth or sixth overall.
Despite the high praise from baseball writers around the country, how high Gonzales is drafted won't matter in 2020 unless there's an MLB season to follow the much-anticipated draft.
"I have no idea what will happen. I would be open to going anywhere and playing," Gonzales says on the prospect of there being no MLB season this summer. "Personally, I'm not sure. I think they're still working it out and once the MLB season gets going and they come to an agreement with what they're doing there...[they will] move next to the minor league season."
For now, however, Gonzales is enjoying the pre-draft process of interviews and training. The former has become increasingly important after the 2020 college baseball season was cut short due to covid-19.
"It's pretty much Zoom interviews with their whole staff or with mental performance people as well to see who you are as a player and as a person," Gonzales says. "Because right now they're not really seeing us play and they need to know as much as they can before they make the big decision next week."
Before covid-19 shutdown Gonzales' junior season in Las Cruces, the Aggie shortstop was hitting an astonishing .448 average with a NCAA-best 12 home runs, 28 runs scored, 36 runs batted in and 67 total bases.
Gonzales is ready for the next level of his baseball career, but is grateful for his time at New Mexico State. To describe his time wearing the crimson and white, Gonzales uses one familiar word: baseball.
"That's all you did there, there's not much to do. And all of my best memories are on that field, in that facility, in the batting cage or in the clubhouse," Gonzales says. "My whole time at New Mexico State I had so much fun with just everyone that I met and I'm super fortunate to have gone there."