Down on the Farm: Gustavo Nunez

Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Gustavo Nunez made his debut in the Detroit Tigers farm system back in 2008. That season he split 58 games between the Gulf Coast League and Advanced-A Lakeland. The following season Nunez had a breakout season in Low-A West Michigan. Nunez hit .315 with five homers, 10 triples, 45 stolen bases and 40 RBIs for the Whitecaps. The 5’10 switch hitter not only impressed scouts, GM Dave Dombrowski proclaimed Nunez “the shortstop of the future” following his impressive 2009 season.

Nunez took a bit of a step back last season as he struggled with the Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers. He posted a less than stellar line of .222/.263/.281 in 572 plate appearances and struck out 93 times. While the number of stolen bases fell from 45 to 33, he was caught stealing just 8 times which was a tremendous improvement from 25 the previous season. Defensively he committed 26 errors–which was a tick higher than the previous season–leaving me with mixed reviews. He definitely has amazing range but I questioned some of his decisions in the field. However, I can’t seem to find a scout that finds his defense a concern though, so I’ll relax a bit on my observations from last season. Nunez is just 23 years old so perhaps that explains his erratic behavior.

This season Nunez is back with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Regardless of the fact that we are just 13 games into the season, Nunez has been impressive. This season Nunez has walked seven times and struck out 5 times, improving in an area that he really needed to address. Nunez currently boasts a .367/.456/.653 line with 2 homers, 4 doubles and 2 triples. Isn’t small sizes of data awesome?

In a nutshell Nunez is an interesting prospect in a farm system that has minimal top tier depth at the shortstop position. He has great speed which naturally has helped him on the base-paths and in the field. Nunez needs to improve his walk and strikeout ratios–he’s headed in the right direction so far this season. The potential and tools are present, perhaps only time will tell what the future has in store for Gustavo Nunez.

Keep an eye on Gustavo Nunez as he continues to earn his stripes down on the farm.

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