The Texas Rangers have been growing more and more infatuated with their top pitching prospect in recent months, and it's been easy to see why as he's been climbing prospect rankings all across the pantheon of prospect evaluators.
Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez finished the year last season at Double-A Frisco and should start the 2015 season there, but could find his way to Arlington sooner rather than later depending on what transpires in the back end of the Rangers rotation.
Famed baseball publication Baseball Prospectus had some pretty lofty praise of Gonzalez, as everyone's favorite Rangers blogger Jamey Newberg pointed out in his email on Friday morning.
Baseball Prospectus evaluation that Chi Chi Gonzalez’s “realistic ceiling” is “James Shields with slightly fewer innings” and his “realistic floor” is “[t]he good version of Mike Leake.”
Those words aren't passed around flippantly by folks like Baseball Prospectus.
Gonzalez was 12-6 with a 2.67 ERA in 25 minor-league starts between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last year, with the majority (14) of those starts coming in Frisco.
Shields, of course, is a lock for 200-plus innings and has been an incredibly solid starter for the last decade, slotting as a strong No. 2 and possibly even an ace depending on his supporting cast. Leake's "good version" was in 2013 when he was 14-7 with a 3.37 ERA with the Reds.
These evaluations of unproven prospects are obviously far from solid, but it's sure better than hearing you've got another spare part on your hands.