Nick Gonzales was a one man wrecking crew at New Mexico State University. After walking, he posted a .399 career average with a 1.249 OPS. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Gonzales hit .448 with 12 bombs in just 16 games for the Aggies. This wacky start helped solidify his draft stock for that June. The Pirates drafted the second baseman seventh overall in the 2020 draft and he now sits No. 5 on the Buccos’ top prospects list.
Gonzales is primarily a second baseman, but has spent more time on the left side at third base and shortstop. Nick has been with Rawlings since he was drafted and has no plans to change. The first question he asked me was…
“Heart of the Hidden or Preferred Pro?”
Nick’s response was interesting. He said: “I really like getting a Pro Preferred and a Heart of Hide to train at the same time and see which one I prefer for that year. I’ve definitely used Heart of Hide more since it seems to break through faster.” You often see guys on one side of the debate or the other, but Gonzales just gets carried away with the feeling after he’s done a bit of work.
The next question is related to the pattern of the glove. Being a second baseman in college, Nick got used to a shallow pocket that emphasized a quick transfer. Since he was recruited, Nick has worn Rawlings’ iconic TT2 pattern. The shallow pocket with a thumb to middle finger closure was ideal for Gonzales’ skillful fielding.
But since he was spending more time on the left side, Nick wanted to change it.
He said: “I have always used the TT2 and never tried anything else. When I moved 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 it a bit more depth.” However, Gonzales retained the TT2’s 11.5″ length with the switch to the 200 pattern.
Pictured above is the Pro Preferred offering he designed for the 2023 season. The PROS204-7KC adds a bit more flash than we’re used to seeing from the usually understated Gonzales. He broke his “classic” mold by adding red accents, the Speed Shell back, and even the V-netting. While louder than his TT2 of years past, this combo works perfectly for the Indianapolis Indians of AAA and ties in perfectly with the Pirates’ red accents if he gets the call this year.
For her Heart of the Hide, Gonzales chose all neutral colors. Black, brown and blonde always work well and adding the mesh was a nice touch to save some weight.
This PRO204-2HB has the same base pattern as his Pro Preferred, just in a Heart of the Hide steerhide and with an I-web. I asked Nick about his glove design process, as these are a bit different than what we’ve seen in the past. He said: “This year, I tried to have a bit more shine on my glove. I went with a bit of red and the non-leather back to shake things up. But I try to find what is simple but looks really good.” While some guys go all out with one theme, like our first Talking Gloves piece with Jon Duplantier, Gonzales just finds a color scheme he likes and sticks with it.
The ‘Nicky G’ stitched on the thumb is self explanatory. “Keep Hammering,” however, is a phrase he hadn’t seen before. When he’s not in the field, Gonzales is often found in his truck listening to Zach Bryan (the guy has good taste) on his way to the hunt. “Keep Hammering” is a quote from his favorite bowhunter that resonated with him. He said he adds it to his glove as a reminder to get through the tough days and always keep working. A simple but important mantra as Gonzales says “Every day is a new day and an opportunity to improve and learn from yesterday’s mistakes.”
As always, a big thanks to Nick for taking time to answer our questions and talk about gloves! Be sure to follow Nick on IG and let us know who else you’d like to see in our next Talking Gloves post!