RubberDucks Notebook: Gonzalez brings "energy" to Akron
The RubberDucks (59-51) were swept by at Richmond in a battle of the Eastern League Western division that gave the Flying Squirrels some breathing room at the top. Akron continued their road trip by splitting a four-game set with the Reading Fightin Phils, and the team began a series with the Bowie Baysox on Monday night with a loss, 12-4.
Player Spotlight: Erik Gonzalez
One week ago, the RubberDucks promoted highly touted Indians prospect Francisco Lindor to Columbus. In the same day, Akron received Erik Gonzalez from Carolina for the second time this season, only this time it was for a permanent stay and a starting role.
In 74 games with the Mudcats, Gonzalez hit .289 with three home runs and 46 RBI. This included seven triples, 14 doubles, and 15 stolen bases.
The 22-year-old talked about the challenges that await him in Double-A ball.
“I have to do my job, try to help the team, and just do my thing.”
Although he has only played __ games at the next level, Gonzalez pointed out the differences in pitching between High-A and Double-A ball.
“Here [Double-A] pitchers throw sliders and changeups for strikes more often, but in High-A they’ll throw the same pitches in the dirt.” He also added that some pitchers on the High-A level tip their pitches, whereas pitchers in Double-A are more intelligent.
Gonzalez has already made his presence known, batting .408 with a home run and five RBI. In 11 games with the team, he has seven multi-hit performances, including four three-hit games.
Manager David Wallace was thrilled to talk about his team’s new starting shortstop.
“He’s an exciting player and he can drive the ball all over the field, and that is a pretty good replacement for a pretty good player.”
I asked Gonzalez what he feels he will bring to Akron’s clubhouse.
“Energy,” the 22-year-old replied with a grin. “A team is like a family. I try to bring energy everyday and impact my teammates.”
Wally is already a believer in Gonzalez’s determination, “He’s got the ability to make all the plays.”
The shortstop said he wants to work on his defense as well as his swing, and he believes he’ll only get better.
“When you work hard and play hard, everything can happen.”
The RubberDucks (59-51) continue their three-game series tonight against Bowie (55-54). Akron will then travel to Harrisburg to take on the Senators (43-64) in a four-game set.
Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. He has interned for the Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate Akron RubberDucks, IMG College, and has shadowed Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. He is currently an on-air sports personality at WZIP-FM and works for the Akron Beacon Journal. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.