One of the best things about Minor League Baseball is watching a forgotten prospect catch fire and force his way into the discussion. That’s exactly what Romy González has done with the Birmingham Barons in 2021.
When I did my season preview for Birmingham, there was no mention of Romy. And most prospect rankings didn’t have him in the Top 30 for the Chicago White Sox.
But the 24-year-old former 18th round pick out of Miami is creating a lot of buzz with his power production this season — in a ballpark where home runs are typically hard to come by.
At a game earlier in the year, I was really keying in on guys like Micker Adolfo and Ti’Quan Forbes — when I saw an at-bat from González and said to myself, “That kid can swing the bat.”
Ever since then — and especially after the promotions of Adolfo and Forbes — Romy has been the main guy to watch with the Barons. And honestly, he might be the most impressive of those three guys.
He’s tied for second in all of Double-A South with 20 home runs (just one home run behind the leader), he’s third in slugging at .502, and fifth in OPS at .856.
And he’s not hitting wall scrapers — these are majestic blasts a lot of the time:
Romy Gonzalez launches HR #19. #Barons #WhiteSox pic.twitter.com/pMQCiFII50— White Sox Daily (@dailywhitesox) August 15, 2021
I was at the game for that one, and it might be the farthest home run I’ve seen hit out to left in that stadium. Yasiel Puig hit one that put a dent in the scoreboard, this one went well beyond the scoreboard in left.
I was sitting near those umbrellas in left field and couldn’t find the baseball he hit it so far.
The swing is beautiful, and the power is real.
Obviously, the major concern with González is his strikeout totals. He has a K% of 28.6. You can survive in today’s MLB with a 30% rate, but you have to be hitting home runs and drawing walks.
Romy does have a solid BB% of 11.4, which has helped him to the seventh-best OBP in Double-A South at .355.
Gonzalez also brings a speed element to his game, as he’s third in Double-A South with 21 stolen bases — and just yesterday, reached the first 20-20 season in Birmingham in two decades.
We’ve been waiting for this one: Romy Gonzalez blasts this one out for his 20th home run of the season!— Birmingham Barons (@BhamBarons) August 20, 2021
Gonzalez is the first Baron since Aaron Roward in 2000 to have a season with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases pic.twitter.com/f8gRN5xdOU
The last 20-20 season before González? A guy you might have heard of: Aaron Rowand.
The other big question for González is where he will play. He has committed 12 errors at shortstop this year, and though that’s not bad for his very first professional games at the position, it may not be his future home.
I think he ultimately lands at second base if he turns into an everyday player. There certainly could be a need there soon, with the White Sox trading Nick Madrigal to the Chicago Cubs in the Craig Kimbrel trade.
Most likely, Romy becomes a really solid utility player, who can provide some right-handed pop off the bench.
But in a season where we haven’t had the most exciting prospect talent come through Birmingham, Romy González is certainly standing out.