Nick Gonzales was a one man wrecking crew at New Mexico State University. After walking-on, he posted a career average of .399 with an OPS of 1.249. In the COVID shortened 2020 season, Gonzales hit .448 with 12 bombs in just 16 games for the Aggies. This absurd start helped solidified his draft stock for that June. The Pirates drafted the second baseman 7th overall in the 2020 draft and he now sits at #5 on the Buccos’ Top Prospect List.
Gonzales is primarily a second baseman but has been spending more time on the left side at third base and shortstop. Nick has been with Rawlings since being drafted and has no plans on switching. The first question that prompted was…
“Heart of the Hide or Pro Preferred?”
Nick’s response was an interesting one. He said “I really like to get both a Pro Preferred and a Heart of Hide to break them in at the same time and see which one I prefer for that year. I have definitely used Heart of Hide more since it seems to break in quicker.” You often see guys on one side of the debate or the other but Gonzales simply goes by feel after they’re worked in a little.
The next question relates to glove pattern. Being a second baseman in college, Nick grew accustom to a shallow pocket that emphasized a quick transfer. Since being drafted, Nick has used the iconic TT2 pattern from Rawlings. The shallow pocket with a thumb to middle finger close was ideal for the slick fielding Gonzales.
But, with more time being spent on the left side, Nick wanted to change it up.
He said “I have always used the TT2 and never tried anything else. When I move over to the other side of the infield playing SS and 3rd, I wanted something with a bigger pocket. For this season, I switched to the 200 pattern to give a little extra depth” Gonzales did retain the 11.5″ length from the TT2 with the switch to the 200 pattern, however.
Pictured above is the Pro Preferred offering he designed for the 2023 season. The PROS204-7KC adds a little more flash than we’re used to seeing from the usually understated Gonzales. He broke his “classic” mold by adding the red accents, the Speed Shell back, and even the V web. While louder than his go-to all tan TT2 from years past, this combo works perfect for the AAA Indianapolis Indians and ties in beautifully with the Pirates red accents if he gets the call this year.
For his Heart of the Hide, Gonzales went with all neutral colors. Black, brown, and blonde always work well and adding the mesh was a nice touch for some weight savings.
This PRO204-2HB is the same base pattern as his Pro Preferred, just in Heart of the Hide steerhide and with an I-web. I asked Nick about the design process for his gloves since these are a little different than what we’ve seen in the past. He said “This year, I tried to have some more flash on my glove. I went with a little bit of red and the non-leather back to change things up. But I try to find what is simple but looks really good”. While some guys go all out with a theme, like our first Talking Gloves piece with Jon Duplantier, Gonzales just finds a color combo he likes and rolls with it.
The ‘Nicky G” stitched on the thumb is pretty self explanatory. “Keep Hammering”, however, is a phrase I hadn’t seen before. When he’s not on the field, Gonzales often finds himself in his truck listening to some Zach Bryan (dude has good taste) on his way to go hunting. “Keep Hammering” is a quote from his favorite bow hunter that resonated with him. He said he adds it to his glove as a reminder to push through the tough days and to always keep working. A simple but important mantra as Gonzales says “Everyday is a new day and an opportunity to get better and learn from yesterday’s mistakes.”
As always, a big thank you to Nick for taking some time to answer our questions and talk gloves! Make sure you shoot Nick a follow on IG and let us know who else you’d like to see on our next Talking Gloves post!