WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed catcher Miguel Gonzalez on Monday.
Gonzalez totaled 50 games in the Detroit Tigers’ organization last year, splitting time with the Triple-A International League’s Toledo Mud Hens and the Double-A Eastern League’s Erie SeaWolves. The Porlamar, Venezuela native hit a combined .220 with four home runs and 12 RBI. It was the sixth time in 10 professional seasons in which Gonzalez reached the Triple-A level.
“I’m thrilled to add a catcher like Miguel,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “His experience will be invaluable to the pitching staff. It was very important for me to add a second catcher that has the ability to shut down the running game.
Gonzalez enters 2018 with a career .247 batting average, 21 home runs, 208 RBI, and a 38 percent caught stealing rate in 598 games played. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Gonzalez has averaged 59 runs scored, 28 doubles, six home runs, 57 RBI, and 41 walks per 162 games as a professional. Gonzalez originally signed with the Chicago White Sox as an international free agent in 2008 and made his professional debut later that summer at the age of 17. The following year, Gonzalez earned a late-season promotion to Triple-A Charlotte at just 19 years old (the average age for position players in the Triple-A International League in 2009 was 27). After an assignment to the Low-A South Atlantic League’s Kannapolis Intimidators in 2010, Gonzalez continued his steady ascension through Chicago’s farm system. Gonzalez reached baseball’s pinnacle in 2013 when he was promoted to the Major League’s and appeared in five games for the White Sox.
Gonzalez has ranked first or second in his league in caught stealing percentage six times over his first 10 professional seasons, including top finishes in the Double-A Eastern League in 2015 (43 percent) and the Triple-A International League in 2016 (40 percent). Baseball America rated Gonzalez the ‘Best Defensive Catcher’ in the White Sox’ organization five consecutive years from 2009-13. The 27-year-old backstop finished with a caught stealing rate of at least 30 percent every year from 2008-16, while breaking the 40 percent threshold on four occasions. In each of the past four seasons, Gonzalez has finished with three or fewer errors, as well as six or fewer passed balls. During the 2016 campaign with Toledo, Gonzalez was not charged with a passed ball in 60 games behind the plate.
Over the past seven years, Gonzalez has also played for the Venezuelan Winter League’s Tiburones de La Guaira. In 176 contests for La Guaira, the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Gonzalez has thrown out 40 percent of opposing base stealers.
The Goldeyes now have 17 players under contract for the 2018 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 6th.
2018 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
CF Reggie Abercrombie
C Jesse Baker
1B/DH David Bergin
RHP Edwin Carl
RHP Victor Capellan
LHP Zack Dodson
2B Jordan Ebert
C Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Zach Hartman
LHP Kenny Mathews
LHP Kevin McGovern
RHP Cameron McVey
OF Jonathan Moroney
RHP Charle Rosario
SS Andrew Sohn
RHP Cody Strayer
RHP Jordan Wellander
Notes: Since 2011, the American Association average caught stealing rate for catchers is 20 percent…during his time in the Major Leagues, Gonzalez collected base hits off Cleveland Indians’ right-hander Josh Tomlin, as well as late Kansas City Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura…Ventura passed away in January of 2017…Baseball America ranked Gonzalez the Best Defensive Catcher in the Low-A South Atlantic League during the 2010 season…while playing for Toledo in 2015, Gonzalez twice caught former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander while on a rehab assignment…during his first nine professional seasons (2008-16), Gonzalez was more than a full year younger than the average age of his league…Gonzalez finished the 2013 season with the Triple-A International League’s Charlotte Knights, but spent the majority of the year with the Birmingham Barons who went on to win the Double-A Southern League championship