It’s about time, Harol is incredibly advanced and I should have written about him earlier. Last season, Harol went to the Short Season-A Brooklyn Cyclones and simply dominated this past season and looks poised to start in full season in 2017. Despite stuff and size, Gonzalez is an excellent pitcher with a bit of promise, and will show it this season at full season ball.
(Picture by Jeffrey Hyde/MILB.com)
RHP Harol Gonzalez
R/R, 6’0″ 170 lbs, 3/2/1995 (22), Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014
Harol gained a name for being a pretty neat pitcher the last two years. A diminutive sized guy, Harol’s listed height is 6 feet, weighing 170, but he’s definitely shorter than that. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 to an undisclosed bonus, Gonzalez has climbed the ranks of the organizational ladder gradually and had an excellent season pitching for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2016.
After he signed, he started with the Foreign Rookie Ball Dominican Summer League Mets and started 7 games for the DSL Mets2 team and pitched pretty well as a starter before moving to the DSL Mets1 team and likely pitched in a piggyback tandem. For people who don’t know what a piggyback is, it is when a pitcher relieves a starter and pitches numerous innings in succession. Presumably a piggyback is another starter who the team wants to get their innings in, possibly because there is a full rotation. Gonzalez pitched well in relief, raising his strikeout rate, but allowed more hits in piggyback than he did as a starter. Gonzalez did very well with control, walking two per nine innings.
The 2015 season he pitched at advanced rookie league Kingsport and was up and down. While Merandy Gonzalez grabbed headlines with a no-hitter, Harol did excellent work through his first seven starts, pitching more than 5.2 innings in all of those starts, including seven innings twice and eight innings once. In his eight inning start, he held the Blue Jays off the base paths until the ninth inning. In August, he started to lose steam, allowing a 7.58 ERA, and a 1.040 OPS in his final 6 games.
In the next season, he had a lot to prove, and did so with the Brooklyn Cyclones. In three separate starts, he struck out ten or more batters. In five of his 14 games, he threw at least seven innings, and went more than six innings in nine of his fourteen games. Harol overall was a force to be reckoned with leading the league with 88 strikeouts, pitching the second most innings with 85, and posting a 2.01 ERA. Harol walked only 17 batters in 85 innings. Gonzalez received All-Star Honors for his stellar play.
Gonzalez is a little guy, definitely around 5’11”, 165. He’s got a skinny build, but has a smooth delivery that reminds some of Pedro Martinez. He doesn’t really have the leg kick or the lower arm slot like Pedro but has that attitude and small frame reminiscent of the dominant starter. He’s got good control of his fastball, able to locate it wherever, whenever from a high three-quarter delivery. The offering comes in around 88-91 miles per hour, with reports that he’s hit 94 in the past. The velocity isn’t expected to improve, but there’s some life on the pitch.
Gonzalez has a slider he’s working on, but it isn’t there yet. He’s also working on a nice curve with some sweeping movement. His real bread and butter are his changeups. The extra “s” on changeups is no typo as he throws two different types of changeups, and one figures to be plus with more refinement. One has good split from his regular fastball, and the other sinks like a splitter. Gonzalez garners outs on being crafty and beating players with control, not blowing them past hitters.
Often times, even plus control guys with average fastballs get knocked around later in the minor leagues, and Gonzalez has some great control, but sitting around 90 may not work. If he can pitch in relief and throw a bit harder while being able to fool many with his changeups, he can be an effective reliever later in his career with possible MLB upside. He’ll be starting in Columbia, and likely going to St. Lucie if he does well.
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