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2024 South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 78: Juan Gonzalez

A backstop with heart and hustle

Juan Gonzalez [center] hopes to crack the backstop logjam.
| @juangonz34/Instagram
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach is a die-hard White Sox fan and Mom of two incredible kids! She also has a Cubby hubby, but it’s OK because he likes the Sox. She went to the first Field of Dreams game, and it was the best baseball experience she's ever had!

Juan Gonzalez
195 pounds
Age 23
2023 High Level Vancouver (High-A)
Age relative to high level -0.4 years
SSS rank among all catchers in the system 9
Overall 2023 stats 38 games ⚾️ 2 HR ⚾️ 9 RBI ⚾️ .269/.401/.378 ⚾️ 18 BB ⚾️ 36 K ⚾️ 5-of-5 (100%) SB ⚾️ 16-of-80 (20.0%) CS

The White Sox acquired catcher Juan Gonzalez from the Toronto Blue Jays on June 13, 2023, for cash considerations. The Jays had selected the 22-year-old in the 19th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Born in Venezuela, Gonzalez came to the United States in 2014 to pursue his baseball dream.

After graduating in 2020, Perfect Game had Gonzalez listed as a nationally-ranked high school backstop (No. 50), and Miami Dade College offered him a spot on their roster. Gonzalez was outstanding offensively for the Sharks, slashing .306/.390/.417 with 12 walks and 21 RBIs in 108 at-bats. He was serviceable behind the dish with a .979 fielding percentage, but one of his college coaches highly praised him for his work with pitchers, as Sharks assistant coach Rudy Arias told writer Victor Gonzalez-Vaca in 2021, “He’s the type of player that creates a lot of energy for the club, knows how to handle the pitching staff. And, I mean, great, great, great teammate.”

Gonzalez Baseball Cube player ratings
Contact 59
XBH 37
Durability 36
Hitting 36
RBIs 35
Speed 31
Power 28
Runs 14

During his first professional season in 2022, Gonzalez struggled with the bat, hitting only .205/.329/.270 throughout three different levels of ball in Toronto’s system. However, his defense improved significantly, with only three errors in 44 games, earning him a .993 fielding percentage on the year.

In 2023, Gonzalez started in Toronto’s High-A affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians, but after a few weeks, was sent to the Florida Complex League. He spent about five weeks there and was then promoted on May 25 to their Single-A affiliate, the Dunedin Blue Jays, where he stayed until he was traded to the South Siders. After the acquisition, the Sox assigned Gonzalez to Kannapolis, where he slashed a respectable .259/382/.361 with a .743 OPS.

In August, Gonzalez made the highlight reel with his new team with an impressive hustle down the line. A great teammate with hustle — you love to see it.

For 2024, Gonzalez probably starts Winston-Salem given his age (about two years older than his Low-A competition). Too much upward mobility for the position is dependent on what has become a logjam of catching prospects in the system, including Korey Lee, Edgar Quero, Troy Claunch, and Adam Hackenberg.

2024 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

78. Juan Gonzalez, C
79. Chris Lanzilli, LF
80. Alex Speas, RHRP
81. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
82. Garrett Wright, RHRP
83. Duke Ellis, CF
84. Mathias LaCombe, RHRP
85. Godwin Bennett, RF
86. Rikuu Nishida, LF
87. Caden Connor, LF
88. Zach Franklin, RHRP
89. Jeremy González, LHSP
90. Jerry Burke, RHRP
91. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
92. Mikey Kane, 3B
93. Carlton Perkins, RHSP
94. Tyler Neslony, LF
95. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
96. Jason Matthews, SS
97. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
98. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
99. Daniel González, LHRP
100. Eduardo Herrera, 3B

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