Ole Miss star Jacob Gonzalez leads Latinos in MLB Draft
Jacob Gonzalez, Enrique Bradfield Jr. lead Latinos in the MLB draft
Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez and speedy Vanderbilt center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. highlighted the first day of the Major League Baseball draft for Latino prospects.
The White Sox picked the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Gonzalez 15th overall. Two picks later, the Orioles took the speedy Bradfield 17th overall.
Gonzalez, who is originally from Glendora, Calif., started every game of his three-year career at Ole Miss. He helped the Rebels win the 2022 national championship. The First Team ABCA All-South Region selection was a Second Team All-SEC selection.
He hit .327 with a team-leading 18 doubles, 35 walks, a .435 on-base percentage, 51 RBIs and a .564 slugging percentage.
Jacob Gonzalez: ‘A small step’
“It’s a small step in the long run,” Jacob Gonzalez said during his Zoom conference with White Sox beat writers. “It feels nice to get going in the journey and I knew the White Sox were interested. They were my best meeting at the combine, so I had a good idea.”
Bradfield, whose father was born in Panama, set Vanderbilt’s all-time stolen base record with 130 over his time in Nashville. He is also an exceptional defensive center fielder.
“If we’re correct that he’s a plus-plus center fielder – and it doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of controversy about that – that’s a really nice defensive profile to help carry you through the minors and into the major leagues,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said.
The Cardinals selected University of Arizona center fielder Chase Davis 21st overall. Davis, who has Puerto Rican roots, was the 2023 Pac-12 Tournament MVP.
The 6-foot-1, 216-pounder was a second-time selection for multiple All-America teams this year.
Chase Davis is ready to work
“When you try to get to know someone without being in the dugout with them, people almost unanimously rave about Chase Davis as a person,” Cardinals assistant GM/scouting director Randy Flores told St. Louis media. “They remark on his growth, maturity, love of the game and his tremendous work ethic.
“I’m so confident he’ll do everything in his power to be the best player possible. After speaking to him and hearing him say, ‘Man, I can’t wait to get to work,’ that was something that I was beyond pleased to hear.”
The Cleveland Guardians picked Huntington Beach (Calif.) High catcher Ralphy Velasquez with the 23rd overall pick. The left-handed hitting slugger is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.
“He really stands out for his bat, ability to hit, control the strikeout, feel to hit, not only for average, but also power,” said Guardinals VP of scouting Paul Gillispie. “Just really impressive track record of success.”
The Minnesota Twins selected hard-throwing righthander Charlee Soto with the 34th pick, a compensation pick. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder from Reborn Christian Academy is only 17 years old.
Twins vice president of amateur scouting Sean Johnson raved about Soto’s “sound delivery.”
Soto has “three nice pitches now,” Johnson told Twins beat writers. “Obviously, the velocity’s there. He’s been up to upper 90s already.
“But he’s got a fantastic slider and he’s got a really good feel for a changeup and he can throw strikes. Put all those things together, and we think he’s got a chance to be a major league starter.”
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