MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Catcher Ivan Gonzalez is the second West Virginia baseball player to be taken in the 2019 MLB Draft, going to the Chicago White Sox in the eighth round.
Gonzalez was taken with the 230th overall pick. He joins battery-mate Alek Manoah as a draft pick. Manoah was drafted Monday by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 11th overall pick.
“It’s a true blessing, dreaming as a kid of getting that call and then having it actually happen,” Gonzalez said in an official WVU release. “It hasn’t really set in yet; it’s a surreal moment after all the hard work. To see my name on that board is amazing. I am excited to go to join the White Sox organization and head to Arizona to see what they have planned for me and to begin my professional career.”
The White Sox have a rookie team in the Arizona League.
Gonzalez improved his stock dramatically as a senior after going undrafted last year. One of three Mountaineers to play in all 60 games, he hit .294 and slugged .407 this season. He was third on the team with 15 doubles and 39 runs scored while also driving in 31 RBI.
Gonzalez’s work behind the plate is more likely to have drawn Chicago’s attention on the second day of the draft. Gonzalez threw out 20 of 44 attempted base-stealers (45.4 percent). That included an 0-for-2 effort by Fordham in the Morgantown Regional, which came in leading the nation with 177 stolen bases this season.
At the big-league level, the average for throwing out base-stealers is around 31 percent.
Gonzalez was also considered the pitching whisperer for a West Virginia staff that was among the Big 12’s best. The Mountaineers led the league with a 3.70 team ERA.
“We [led] the Big 12 in pitching because he’s back there,” said West Virginia coach Randy Mazey. “He’s just a workhorse back there. He’s been a grinder for four years.”
The slot value for Gonzalez’s pick is $183,700.
Rounds 11-40 of the MLB Draft will conclude on Wednesday.