Angel Gonzalez (minors02)
Angel Rafael Gonzalez
- Bats Right (Switch-hitter for a time early in his career), Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 160 lb.
Angel Gonzalez spent six seasons at AAA but never made the majors. His biggest stardom came in Taiwan, where he played for seven years, twice leading in OBP and average.
Gonzalez made his pro debut in 1984 with the Elmira Pioneers of the Boston Red Sox chain. He hit .287/.406/.436 with 54 runs and 41 walks in 63 games while playing mostly DH. In 1985, he moved up to the Winter Haven Red Sox and batted .252/~.332/.341 with a team-high 24 stolen bases while starting at second base. Back with Winter Haven in '86, Angel's batting line was .323/~.395/.437 and he pilfered 31 bags while rapping 28 doubles. He was 4th in the Florida State League in average behind Ron Jones, Ron Johns and Jim Reboulet, who beat him out as the All-Star 2B.
Angel split 1987 between the New Britain Red Sox (.300/~.372/.411, 24 SB) and the Pawtucket Red Sox (14 for 35, 4 2B, 3 BB). Gonzalez's quick upward rise came to a skidding halt in 1988 as he stumbled with both New Britain (.202/.306/.269, 13 SB, only 13 R in 65 G, .911 fielding at third base) and Pawtucket (.202/.286/.310, 13 SB, 15 R in 55 G, .913 fielding at third). With Wade Boggs entrenched at third with Boston and Jody Reed at second, those numbers weren't going to cut it.
Gonzalez returned to Pawtucket in 1989 and improved to .259/~.301/.375 in 73 games. In 1990, he hit .185/.285/.249 with just one steal. He moved to the Cincinnati Reds system in 1991 and produced at a .243/~.287/.359 rate for the Nashville Sounds, though he did have a team-best 7 triples.
His US career over, Angel joined the Mercuries Tigers of Taiwan, hitting .315/.348/.502 with 23 steals in 29 tries in 1992. With the Tigers, formed the "foreign Three Musketeers" with Luis Iglesias and Leo Garcia. He tied for second in the CPBL in average, behind only Juan Castillo. He was also second in swipes, behind I-Tseng Lin.
The Dominican infielder hit .313/.361/.508 in 1993 and stole 33 bases but was thrown out 20 times. He finished second to I-Tseng Lin in steals and tied Tai-Chuan Chiang for third in average. In '94, Gonzalez hit for the cycle on March 17. He hit .360/.404/.569 for a career year. He edged Luis de los Santos by .002 for the batting title. He was third in OBP behind Kuei-Chang Tseng and Castillo, was second in slugging (.010 behind George Hinshaw) and led in OPS. He was named to the Best Nine as the top second baseman in the country. It would be his only time taking home that award, which was dominated by Chung-Yi Huang and Shi-Xing Ro during his career in Taiwan.
Angel fell off a bit in 1995, to .354/.412/.540 with only 3 steals as his speed was declining at age 30. He was second to Iglesias in slugging, led in OBP again and edged de los Santos by .002 for the batting title, won on the final day of the season. He edged Iglesias by .003 for the OPS leadership.
In '96, Gonzalez hit .321/.353/.481 in his last year for the Tigers. With offensive levels way up, he didn't even crack the top 10 in average. He moved to the new Taiwan Major League in 1997, signing with the Kaoping Fala and hitting .282/.341/.435. He switched to the Taichung Agan in 1998 and faded to .258/.293/.414.
He had batted .334/.378/.523 in 393 games in the CPBL and fielded .953.
The veteran wasn't ready to call it quits just yet. In 1999, he played for Italy's Fortitudo Bologna club, hitting .309/.391/.491 while fielding .881 at the hot corner.
Gonzalez was a coach for the DSL White Sox in 2015-2017.