If you want a prospect that will make your team look like a genius very early on, this this is the guy you want your team to draft. He's very polished and has above average control and could improve it into the plus range as he gets some college coaching. As I've talked about several times, an advanced changeup will make you look like an amazing pitcher in the low minors and his will allow him to dominate early. However, his ceiling isn't very high, so you take the early returns for a cost of high upside. It's even conceivable to call him a left-handed version of fellow draft prospect, UC Irvine's Andrew Thurman. They aren't very comparable, but they are guys that are headlined by advanced changeups and are battling for this year's best changeup.
The fastball is nothing to drool about. From the left side, an 88-92 fastball is average, but not something to hang your hat on by any means. And, he's not a big guy, just 6-1, 185 pounds so he's not really going to add mass for a little more oomph. But, his entire repertoire plays up a bit because of his changeup. It's easily an above average pitch and possibly a solid plus pitch when he's locating his fastball well. It has good sink and fade on it. He also throws a slider and a curve, the slider being the better one. Both are only average at best pitches. He doesn't have the great arm strength to really make it a true slider as it can get more sink than run at times to make it more slurvy. And, it can sometimes get into the same velocity range as the changeup, so his speed changes just aren't that great at times.
Mechanically, Gonzales is very simple which allows him to pitch deep and not lose his stuff because his delivery isn't overly taxing. I've seen some variances in his delivery though. There's videos that look like his has a good stride and some leg drive and then I'll watch a different video from the same year, and the stride is smaller with less leg drive. His team USA videos have a longer stride than most. I liked it better there. That may be why his fastball range has a four mile difference at times. Either way, his mechanics are repeatable without red flags for injuries.
Lefty's with a good changeup have a role. It may be a bullpen role against left-handed hitters, but he'll have a role.
I can't peg anything more than a #3 on him. I'm not comfortable going higher than that, but let's be honest there is tons of value in that. When you consider that he'll be one of the fastest moving prospects through the minors from this draft, you have to like that. We've seen a handful of 2012 draft picks make their debut's in 2013 already, and Gonzales could be one of those that spends less than a year in the minors and contributing as a #3 very soon.
He's also a hitter and plays some outfield and first base. So, he is athletic, but there is not a team that will draft him as anything other than a pitcher.
Projected Draft Round
He's a first rounder for sure. There's no chance he slips into the second or even the first compensation/competitive balance range. He'll likely be gone somewhere between 10-25.
Will he sign?
He will, his value is high and he'll get a chance to be a big league pitcher fairly quickly. No use holding that off.
A two-way player for Gonzaga, Gonzales' future will most certainly be on the mound, especially after an outstanding turn as part of Team USA's rotation over the summer.
Gonzales' best pitch is his changeup, which is an easily plus pitch. He'll throw his fastball up into the low 90s and has excellent command of it, while using a slider as his primary breaking ball.
After a very strong sophomore season on both sides of the ball, Gonzales kept it going for USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team over the summer. He carried it over to his junior season, pitching and hitting well for the 'Zags. Clearly a very good athlete who can handle the bat, it's his left arm that could have him drafted in the first round in June.
Gonzales isn't a huge guy, standing at 6-1, 185. He's a good athlete and a solid-enough hitter, renowned for an efficient swing and a good glove, but he doesn't have enough power to stand out at first base or the outfield, and his future is definitely on the mound. His fastball is average in terms of velocity at 88-92 MPH, but his command of the heater is excellent. He also has a superior changeup, possibly the best in the college ranks. His curveball and slider aren't as good as the changeup, but they are workable, and the entire arsenal plays up due to his command and clean, consistent delivery.
Overall, I get why you'd take him, but I see a guy with limited ceiling for this kind of pitcher. I saw Noah Lowry back in college and in high school, for that matter, back in the day, and Noah had a better straight change and better arm than this guy has. So take your pick, see what you get, but if he can't pitch off his fastball, it's awfully hard to get by pitching backwards against real hitters. Yeah I know, I'm a real bummer. So are professional hitters.