Top 50 Prospect Profile: Carlos Gonzalez

<p>The new year is here, and the <b> Top 50</b> is rolling&nbsp; The Top 50 features profiles, commentary, and analysis from the staff, Diamondbacks coaches and officials, as well as experts.&nbsp; He's just 19 years old, but Bobby Abreu look-a-like <b>Carlos Gonzalez</b> thinks his age is less impressive than his stats.

Vital Statistics:

Name Carlos Gonzalez
Position Outfield
Age 19
Height 6'1"
Weight 178
Bats Left
Throws Left
'04 Club Short Season A Yakima Bears (Northwest League), Lo A South Bend Silverhawks (Midwest League)

Gonzalez is one of the brightest prospects in the Diamondbacks organization, and one of the rawest.  At a just turned 19 years of age he often gets compared (tools wise) to the Philadelphia Phillies Bobby Abreu, some say with more power and a stronger arm, most say without the plate discipline.  The D'Backs are trying to take is slow but excitement throughout the organization means this is a kid to watch in '05.  If the Diamondbacks stay with their plan he'll start the season in South Bend, but a good off season could bump him to Hi A Lancaster at the beginning of the year and if he starts there then there is a real possibility he might see a September call up, something many in the front office are trying to avoid.  He really needs another two (at least) years in the minors, but one of the reasons everybody is so high on this kid is that even if he wasn't ready until '07 he'd still only be 22 years old.

Batting and Power:  He hasn't shown an exceptional amount of power during games, but anybody who's seen Gonzalez in batting practice realizes this kid can just crush the ball.  The Diamondbacks really believe this is a kid who can consistently hit 30 bombs a year once his still developing body fills out, and thus are pushing the kid to make contact and use his speed now.  His swing is a natural home run hitter (and strikeout victim)'s, and coaches have worked, with some success, on leveling it out, but again his youth and upside have caused several Diamondback's scouts to quietly suggest that the best thing the coaches could do is just leave him alone and let him mature.  His speed insures he'll get his share of infield hits and considering he'd rarely done it before the '04 season his bunting is ahead of the curve.

Carlos Gonzalez At Bats Avg. HR RBI K/BB
Short Season A Yakima Bears (Northwest League) 300 .279 9 44 70/22
Lo A South Bend Silverhawks (Midwest League) 51 .275 1 8 13/1

Base running and Speed:   Gonzalez has always projected as a corner outfielder, but has more than enough speed to hold his own in center.  He is so raw on the bases that he was rarely asked to steal, something the coaches will work on during the upcoming season.  As with most players his age he makes sloppy base running decisions, but most feel his grasp of the game mentally with catch up with his physical tools, and his work ethic is often praised, the Diamondbacks simply need to give his brain time to catch up with his body.

Defense:  The word 'cannon' sometimes gets thrown around loosely, especially with young players, but with Gonzalez 'cannon' is not only appropriate, it might be an understatement.  Almost everyone agreed his was the best arm in the Northwest League, with almost no coaching.  No one went first to third on him, and he often seemed to be teasing opposing base runners, throwing flat footed and yet on a line.  His routes on fly balls are sometimes lazy, but his speed makes up for it and coaches said his progression from the beginning of the season to the end was noticeable, inspiring much talk of a potential move to center field.

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