Merandy Gonzalez made his major league debut in 2018 for the Miami Marlins.
Merandy Gonzalez is a 6′, 216 lb. right-handed batting and throwing pitcher from Cotui, Dominican Republic, population 79,596. Eleven major leaguers have originated out of the city, the most prolific of whom is probably pitcher Ramon Ortiz.
Gonzalez, who was born on October 9th, 1995, signed his first professional deal with the New York Mets on March 6th, 2013. He played in 14 games for the rookie-level DSL Mets in the Dominican Summer League, starting twice and striking out 29 in 44 2/3 innings. Not the typical “blow-them away” fireballer, Gonzalez kept the opposition to a 1.23 WHIP by keeping the ball down. According to the MLB Pipeline:
"While Gonzalez is a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, his arm is more than big enough. He pitched at 93 mph with Brooklyn but showed he can reach back for 96-97 mph. He’ll throw a very good curveball and messes with a slider, and they will run into each other at times. He has the ability to throw an above-average breaking ball, and likes to throw it, so getting him to focus on one might help him developmentally. His changeup is developing, and he needs to throw it more often so it can improve. While he’s generally around the strike zone, he does leave balls in the middle of the plate at times. With good athleticism and a repeatable delivery, his command should improve over time."
Another season in the DSL would yield 47 K’s for Gonzalez in 55 1/3 innings in 2014. He was 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Gonzalez only issued 15 walks, and held opponents to a .240 batting average between the two Mets’ affiliates in the league.
In 2015, Gonzalez spent another season at the rookie-level, between the two New York Mets stateside affiliates at the level. Between the GCL Mets in the Gulf Coast League and the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League, he issued 64 K’s in 66 2/3 innings, with a 2.56 ERA, a 4-3 record, and a 1.06 WHIP over 13 games, including nine starts.
After joining the short-season-A Brooklyn Cyclones in the New York-Penn League in 2016, Gonzalez joined their rotation for 14 turns. He was 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA, 71 K’s in 69 innings, and a 1.33 WHIP. Here he is in August of that season with the Cyclones courtesy of 2080 Baseball.
Gonzalez started the 2017 season ranked as the Mets’ 15th ranked prospect. Beginning with the full-season-A Columbia Fireflies (along with sideshow Tim Tebow), Gonzalez went 8-1 with a 1.55 ERA over 11 starts, with a 0.90 WHIP. Called up to the high-A St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League, he started six more times and went 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
On July 28th of that year, Gonzalez was traded with outfielder Ricardo Cespedes to the Miami Marlins for reliever A.J. Ramos. He stayed in the FSL for the remainder of the season, now with the Jupiter Hammerheads, and held opponents to a 0.95 WHIP in 24 innings over five games.
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Gonzalez is reliant on his fastball 44 percent of the time, his curve 34 percent, his cutter 12 percent, and a changeup 10 percent of the time, according to Baseball Savant.
To begin 2018, Gonzalez was ranked as the number 16 prospect in the Miami Marlins system. In 14 starts for the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League, he was 3-6 with a 4.32 ERA. He also spent significant time with the Miami Marlins in his first major league action.
On April 30th, Gonzalez collected his second major league victory after pitching two scoreless innings, surrendering one hit in an 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
In eight appearances over three separate callups, Gonzalez faced 103 batters and allowed 31 hits. He surrendered a 1.773 WHIP and a 4.89 FIP, striking out 19 in 22 innings, while opponents hit .326 off him.
Not the best debut in major league history, but Baseball Reference has Gonzalez projected to rebound with a 1.350 WHIP in 40 innings of work in 2019. Look for him to compete for a rotation spot with the Miami Marlins in Spring Training this season.