The St. Louis Cardinals have signed their fifth non-drafted free agent to a minor league contract this week, augmenting the 2016 draft class. The new addition is senior infielder Yariel Gonzalez from the University of Science and Arts, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) institution located in Chickasha, Oklahoma. The switch-hitter batted over .400 in each of four collegiate seasons with three different institutions.
The third baseman from San Sebastian, Puerto Rico was a 2016 NAIA All-American first team selection as named by the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association All-America Committee. In fact, Gonzalez is a repeater, also earning 2015 NAIA first-team honors at Oklahoma Baptist University, for which he helped lead to the NAIA World Series. (Palm Beach outfielder Orlando Olivera was also among the 2015 NAIA first-team honorees.)
However, Gonzalez left OBU after it moved to NCAA Division II for 2016. This year, 6-foot-1, 195-pounder led the Drovers in batting average (.457) and home runs (16). He also set school season records for RBI (72), hits (101) and runs (77) and was named the Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
In 2015, Gonzalez topped Oklahoma Baptist hitters a .423 average. Then a second baseman, he collected 90 hits and drove in 66 runs and hit 27 doubles, which ranked second in the NAIA. Gonzalez began his collegiate years with two seasons at Connors State Junior College, also located in the Sooner state, where he batted .444 in 2014 and .420 the prior season. He also has experience playing shortstop.
To open the new phase of his career as a professional, Gonzalez is reporting to rookie-level Johnson City of the Appalachian League.
A since-released Cardinals prospect, outfielder Brian Vigo-Suarez, a free agent signee in 2013, also attended the University of Science and Arts.
As more signing and team assignment information is learned, it will be noted on team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation as well as on the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog. The latter source also is tracking the status of all 42 St. Louis’ draftees.
To go deeper on any of the Cardinals’ 42 draftees, check out this article.
By clicking on any highlighted player name, you will be taken to his individual player profile page. There, a wealth of past information about him is available – articles, injury news, photos, videos, interviews and more - all in one place.
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