Sep 16, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox 2023 MLB Draft first round pick Jacob Gonzalez smiles after throwing a ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Generally speaking, when highlighting a top prospect, you may not want to point out that they have an OPS under .600 as a reason to be excited about said young player. But the Chicago White Sox don’t have a whole heck of a lot to be excited about. So perhaps whoever runs the team’s social media account thought it would be a good idea to draw up some excitement with the team’s No. 4 ranked prospect — Jacob Gonzalez.

The 2023 Major League Baseball draft saw the White Sox make Gonzalez the 15th overall selection. He signed with the team for $3.9 million and debuted in the minor leagues shortly after. In 34 games, Gonzalez had a batting average of .211, along with one home run and 17 RBIs. His on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) was .593.

Those numbers really aren’t anything to write about. But it’s never a seamless transition from college to the pros, especially when there’s such a developmental curve in baseball. For the White Sox to highlight those numbers as a promising look to the future is embarrassing to the team and Gonzalez, and does the 21-year-old Ole Miss product a great disservice.

34 games is a relatively small sample size. However, it’s worth noting that this is the same Gonzalez who finished the 2022 season with an impressive stat line of .273 batting average, .405 on-base percentage, .558 slugging percentage, 18 home runs, and 52 RBIs, achieved throughout 65 games. His brilliant performance helped Ole Miss secure their first-ever NCAA Championship.

Focusing on Gonzalez’s .593 OPS in 34 minor league games reeks of desperation. Compare that to his .558 slugging percentage in college during their championship run — that’s what generates buzz, not low minor-league stats.

If that’s too far removed, surely, the White Sox could have emphasized his impressive final season in college when he played in one of the toughest conferences in collegiate baseball — the SEC. During the 2023 season, he played 54 games and hit .327 with 10 home runs, 51 RBIs, and 18 doubles.

Instead of forcing optimism over underwhelming numbers, why not celebrate Gonzalez’s college achievements or showcase his work ethic and potential? There’s plenty there to be excited about without resorting to cherry-picking stats that don’t reflect well on the player, the organization, the front office, or the team’s player development.

Ultimately, highlighting Gonzalez’s minor league struggles exposes the White Sox’s desperation more than it fuels genuine excitement for the future.

[Chicago White Sox]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.