Adrian Gonzalez was
sitting in his living room when he received the call that would change his
life. The call that informed him that he was the first overall pick
of the 2000 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.
"That was one of the most memorable
moments of my career. The biggest thing about being the number one
overall pick is the tradition you follow, with players like Chipper Jones
and Alex Rodriguez,"said Gonzalez.
This season at Kane
County, Gonzalez has become a nightmare for the Midwest League opponents,
as Gonzalez has torched his opponents with a .455 batting average, one
homerun, and seven RBI's.
It wasn't that long ago,
back at Eastlake High in San Diego, that the professional scouts didn't
show quite as much interest in Gonzalez. One summer, between his
junior and senior year, that all changed. He played semi-pro
baseball in Mexico, where he was one of the youngest players in a league
that had players in their twenties. In addition to that, he worked
tirelessly by lifting weights and began to grow a little bit, as
"That really helped out my
senior year in high school. I went from seeing 90 MPH pitches in
Mexico to seeing 85 MPH pitches when I came back to playing high school
competition," said Gonzalez.
Senior year at
Eastlake, Adrian and his team began to dominate and eventually won the
city championship, which became one of his most memorable
"I had won other
championships before the high school championship. That was one of
those moments that I felt like I was old enough that I could savor,"
Not only did Gonzalez
win the championship, but he also received several individual awards as
well. Gonzalez was named San Diego Player of the Year both his
junior and senior season, and the State of California Player of Year his
being drafted and shortly after signing for three million dollars, he was
assigned to the Gulf Coast League. For Gonzalez, the first week was
"The first week I was
hitting around .100. I think I was feeling the pressure of being the
first round pick. With all the hype of being the first pick, you
want to go out there and hit four homeruns your first game. You just
can't do that though. I got some help from some of the coaches on my
footwork, and my dad told me some things I was doing wrong," said
Gonzalez's dad knows
what he is talking about. His dad was a top professional baseball
player in Mexico and played until his early 40's. He also has a
brother that was drafted in the 30th round by the Tampa Bay Devil
After receiving the helpful advice on
his footwork from his coaches and adjusting to professional baseball,
Gonzalez began to turn things around.
"All of a sudden from that
first week, my batting average kept climbing. I then got up around
.300," said Gonzalez.
Shortly after hitting
around .295, 10 doubles, and a team leading 30 RBI's in the Gulf Coast
League, Gonzalez then took the next step by moving up to Utica. In
Utica, he continued to add to his dominance, providing help in the
playoffs with his bat.
In the 2001 season,
all his hard work lifting weights and playing ball in the off-season has
paid off. Gonzalez has virtually assassinated the league, hitting as
high as .533, in 28 at-bats.
"He is very mature for a
19-year-old. He is advanced in every way thinkable. Gonzalez
is like a guy in triple A already, thinking about different pitches.
With that kind of potential, it is up to him how far he goes," said
hitting instructor Matt Winters.