Detroit Tigers: 5 scouting reports on possible 2023 MLB Draft targets

Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander (11) celebrates after closing out the inning.
Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander (11) celebrates after closing out the inning. / Jake Crandall/ Advertiser / USA TODAY
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3. Jacob Gonzalez - LHH/SS

Detroit Tigers, Jacob Gonzalez
Ole Miss Rebels shortstop Jacob Gonzalez (7) tags out a runner. / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers must consider targeting shortstop Jacob Gonzalez with the third overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. The Ole Miss Rebels shortstop has been uber impressive for them during his first two years and is due for a big Junior campaign.

Gonzalez captains the infield for the Rebels and is fresh off of a 2022 NCAA National Championship when the Rebels beat the Oklahoma Sooners in Omaha to secure the championship. Gonzalez has tools in the batters' box to be a real threat in years to come as he gets into a pro organization and works toward the big leagues.

The 20-year-old will hit 21 before the draft, is 6-foot-2, and weighs 200 pounds. He has athleticism present in the frame with quick-twitch actions. He swings it from the left side and has a solid presence in the batter's box.

Gonzalez played 65 games for the Rebels in 2022, where he slashed .273/.405/.558 with nine doubles, three triples, and 18 home runs with 52 RBI over 242 at-bats. This was following up his freshman campaign, where he played in 67 games, slashing .355/.443/.561 with 16 doubles, a triple, and 12 home runs with 55 RBI over 262 at-bats.

He's got the bat working for him once again in 2023. Through the season's first four games, Gonzalez was 5-for-16 with two doubles and a home run with nine RBI to his credit. He's drawn a pair of walks and was hit once, producing a .421 OBP through his first four games of the year.

In terms of his operation in the batters' box, Gonzalez has a very wide base with the hands set high, the back elbow up, and a bit of a barrel wrap. The weight starts mostly on his back leg, with the lead leg outstretched in an open stance.

He uses a hanging leg lift trigger, lifting the lead leg and evening up his base before he strides forward through contact. The hands are direct to the baseball, getting through the zone with exceptional control of the barrel.

He rotates hard through contact and has a pretty finish to his swing. As the tweet below notes, it's a swing that many people probably wish they could pull off. He has tons of bat speed with quick hands through the zone, being able to drive the ball in the air as he does in the video below for the grand slam.

If you look at the video slowed down, you see how much he gets his weight onto his backside as he gets into the hanging part of his leg lift. He does a little toe-tap in that clip, but the weight is on his back foot, and he has a good transfer as part of his swing and rotation through contact.

He has the juice to the pull-side and seems to have that approach to work pull-side, but he won't get hand-cuffed. He can control the barrel to work the other way and collect hits to all parts of the field. He shortens up with two strikes but uses the bat speed and control of the barrel to be a bit more handsy and still get the job done.

Defensively, he's a sure-handed shortstop with the glove and athleticism that works. He can make tough throws across the diamond and has the arm to stick at shortstop in the long term. He's someone the Tigers could grab and hope to plug in on the left side of their infield with some pop in his bat from the left side.

He's another player that needs to be in the mix as the Tigers try to come to a consensus on who they will target in the 2023 MLB Draft. Keep an eye on Gonzalez this spring as he and Ole Miss look to defend their National Championship and get back to Omaha.