The 2016 season was a great one for the young righty out of the Dominican Republic in Harol Gonzalez. He led the New York-Penn League in ERA for qualified starters with 2.01 and strikeouts with 88. He was also third in the league in WHIP and second in innings pitched.
Gonzalez pitched in the DSL after he was signed in 2014 with a 3.00 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 50 innings during his debut. The next year he made his stateside debut with the Kingsport Mets, pitching to a 4.96 ERA in 65.1 innings, but struck out 54 compared to only nine walks.
Gonzalez was outstanding in a very talented Cyclones rotation this past season. It included Justin Dunn, Merandy Gonzalez, and Gabriel Llanes as well as Thomas Szapucki who got promoted during the season. In this talented rotation Gonzalez still made a huge impression on me.
The 22-year old has great baseball instincts and knowledge for his age. He mostly sits around in high 80′s/low 90′s with his fastball, but when he needs it he can dial it up to 94. He mixes speeds well with two change-ups, solid slider and a developing curveball. He has smooth mechanics, knows how to attack hitters and is comfortable pitching backwards.
We ranked Harol as our number 25 prospect here at MMN after his breakout 2016 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Earlier in the offseason, Baseball America named Gonzalez the NYPL Pitcher of the Year.
In this interview, he talks about how it was like to be on SNY and being part of such a talented rotation in Brooklyn last season. Harol answered my questions in Spanish so I have to thank a friend of Ernest Dove. Thanks Yoana for translating Harol’s answers.
MMN: First of, thanks for answering my questions. How is the offseason going so far? And how do you get ready?
Harol: Primera menté buenas noches Con mucho gusto le responderé sus preguntas Mi temporada muerta está todo bien gracias a dios, estoy feliz de estar con mi familia y las personas que me quieren Y por supuesto que todavía me mantengo ready estamos trabajando muy duro para este año 2017.
Good evening everyone! I will gladly answer you your questions My offseason is all good thank God, I’m happy to be with my family and the people who love me and of course I try to maintain myself ready.we are working very hard for this year 2017
MMN: You had a terrific season in 2016. What worked for you?
Harol: Gracias a dios estuve una temporada muy buena en 2016 Y me ayudó mucho mezclar mis lanzamientos bajo en la zona, también me ayudó mucho estudiar los bateadores antes del juego Fui líder de strikeouts en la liga y mi mayor de strikeout fue con el cambio de velocidad Y los que enfatizaron a que aprenda ese lanzamiento fue Ron Romanick Phil Reagan.
Thank God I had a very good season in 2016 and helped me to learn how to mix my pitches low in the area, it also helped me to study hitters before the game. I was leader of strikeouts in the league and the biggest reason was the change of speed. Ron Romanick and Phil Regan encouraged me to perfect my offspeed pitches.
MMN: I expect you to make your full season debut. Any difference on how you get ready for the season?
Harol: Tengo un poco de diferencia en como me preparo para esta temporada y es mantenerme saludable trabajar mucho mis piernas y mi físico ya que esta temporada será de más inning y más larga que digamos Para los fans de los mets. Me declaro como un lanzador de mezcla de lanzamientos entre lanzamientos Un lanzador que lanza strike y puedo sacar out En las fortaleza me estoy preparando como ya le dije en la parte de arriba Estoy preparando mis piernas mi brazo más fuerte y mi físico. (answer for both this and the next question)
I have a little bit of difference in how I prepare for this season. It is to keep myself healthy and to work on my legs and my body as this season I will be playing more innings.
MMN: For Mets fans that don’t know you. How will you describe yourself as a pitcher?
Harol: To the Mets fans. I declare myself as a pitcher with a variety of pitches. A strike throwing pitcher and that attacks hitters. Some of my strengths like I mentioned before is that I am preparing my upper body. I am preparing my legs, my arm to get stronger and my whole physical body.
MMN: You pitched in Brooklyn and made a start which was televised on SNY. Describe how it feels?
Harol: Le doy las gracias a dios porque fue mi primera ves lanzar en tv en el canal SNY Y gracias al señor estuve un buen partido y pude demostrarle un poco a los fans quien es harol González Lleve el juego asta el 8vo inning y estuve a punto a lanzar not hitter run Pude observar de szapucki y Dunn Como llevar los bateadores y los efectos de lanzamientos de ellos para el día de mi gran juego ya que ellos pueden lanzar un poco más fast que yo No puedo compararme a ellos Pero si puedo ver cómo ellos atacan la zona de strike y así llevarlo a mi juego (answer for this and the next question)
I thank God because it was my first time to launch live on TV channel SNY and thanks to the Lord I had a good game. I wanted to demonstrate to my fans what type of pitcher I am. I took the game to the 7th inning with a no-hitter.
MMN: You pitched in a great Cyclones rotation which include you, Szapucki and Dunn. How is it like watching the other starters work? And how do you learn from them?
Harol: I was able to observe Szapucki and Dunn skills so that I can utilize them for my game. Since they can pitch a little faster than me, I cannot compare to them, but I can see how they attack the strike zone and thus take it to my game.
MMN: Last question. What are your goals for this season and where do you think you will start your 2017 season? I expect the Fireflies.
Harol: Los fans y los equipos pueden mantener los ojos abiertos porque harol continuará lanzando strike y todavía falta más cosas que harol González puede lograr En la temporada 2017 todavía no sé dónde pueda jugar pero mis metas es empezar en PSL Pero de todos modos mis meta es hacer el trabajo donde los mets crean que puedo lanzar sin importar dónde
The fans and teams can continue to keep their eyes open because Harol will continue releasing strikes and there is still more things that I can achieve in the 2017 season. I still do not know where I might play but my goals is to start with the St. Lucie Mets. Anyway, my goal is to do the work where the Mets believe that I can grow, no matter where it might be!
MMN: Thanks again for your time and good luck this season!