MATT GORSKI, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: December 22, 1997
Drafted: 2nd Round, 57th Overall, 2019
How Acquired: Draft
College: Indiana University
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Gorski was the Pirates’ first college pick in the 2019 draft. He has plus raw power and plus speed, but he’s had issues making contact. As a sophomore, he batted 306/404/554, but he fell off to 271/374/498 as a junior. He evidently went more for power, as his walk, strikeout and home run rates all increased sharply. He fanned in over a quarter of his at-bats. Gorski has also had trouble in the wood bat Cape Cod League. He stole a lot of bases in college, going 39-for-39 as a base stealer in his first two years and 18-for-21 as a junior. The speed may not be enough by itself for him to stay in center, as scouts believe Gorski needs to improve his routes. He has a very strong and accurate arm. Baseball America ranked him 150th among draft prospects and MLB Pipeline 112th. The Pirates do not have a good track record with hitters who sell out for power, with Casey Hughston and Dylan Busby being recent examples, so Gorski presents a good deal of risk; as FanGraphs put it, he “might not hit at all.” Gorski signed a week after he was drafted for $243,600 below the slot value.
Gorski’s debut went pretty much as the scouting reports suggested. He showed a modest amount of power and had significant problems making contact. RHPs ate him alive with breaking balls, holding him to a 190/250/317 line. He did well against LHPs, with a 327/424/408 line. His struggles may have resulted in part from a wrist injury Gorski split his time between center and left, and also used his speed on the bases.
The minor league season was canceled, but the Pirates reportedly were impressed with Gorski in fall instructionals. The previous front office paid him such a large bonus with the idea that they could help him with swing adjustments, but they never had any success in helping college hitting draftees improve. Not once.
Gorski spent his season in the Greensboro outfield, splitting his time between left and center. He played well defensively and had nine outfield assists. At the plate, his power started to come around, but otherwise he had the same season he had in 2019, with more strikeouts. He had a home/road split, but it wasn’t as heavily tilted toward the home park as some of his teammates. Oddly, he had a large reverse platoon split. Gorski did an outstanding job as a base stealer.
Gorski had a massive breakout season. He opened back at Greensboro and managed to cut his K rate, although it remained very high, while hitting for a ton more power. The home runs were aided by the Greensboro ballpark, but it was more a matter of the lack of power alleys there turning doubles into home runs. Gorski really turned it on in mid-May, belting nine homers in a seven-game stretch, which got him promoted to Altoona. Some of the homers turned back into doubles, but he otherwise hit about the same as he had at Greensboro. Unfortunately, at the end of June Gorski suffered a quad injury running the bases. He seemed likely to miss the rest of the season, but he came back at the end of August. He got into eight more games for the Curve and didn’t hit much, which hurt his overall numbers. The Pirates moved him up to AAA with about a week left in the AAA season, but he reinjured the quad in his first game and wasn’t able to return. For the full season, Gorski had a fairly large platoon split; he had an .899 OPS against RHPs and 1.157 against LHPs. Defensively, Gorski mostly played center, but at both Greensboro and Altoona he started half a dozen games at first, a position he’d played some in college.
The quad injury unhappily interfered with a huge season for Gorski. Worst of all, it sharply reduced his opportunity to get time at first, a position where the Pirates got worse production than all but a couple other teams had gotten in all of MLB history. It would have been an obvious potential path forward for Gorski. The Pirates planned to send him to the AFL to make up for the lost time, but the recurrence of the injury scuttled that plan. He’s eligible for Rule 5, so the Pirates will have to add him to the 40-man roster to avoid losing him.
|2023: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $1,000,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MiLB FA Eligible: 2025
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2022
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 3, 2019: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round, 57th overall pick; signed on June 11.|