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Nick Gonzales, Ji-hwan Bae chosen for AFL Fall Stars Game

Middle infield prospects represent the Pirates in Saturday’s matchup.

Surprise Saguaros v. Peoria Javelinas Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

A pair of Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League prospects were named Wednesday to play in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game.

Infielders Nick Gonzales, the Pirates’ No. 1 pick in the 2020 amateur draft, and Ji-hwan Bae, an international signee who was originally with the Atlanta Braves, both were selected to play for the West Division team.

The game will be played at 7 p.m. EST this Saturday, November 13 and will be televised on the MLB Network.

The 22-year-old Gonzales had a few rough patches in his first season of professional ball, as he was sidelined for a stretch with a broken pinky. But he wound up doing just fine overall at High-A Greensboro, hitting.302 with a .950 OPS, slugging 18 home runs and driving in 54 in 324 at-bats.

From Aug. 1 through the end of the season – a stretch of 171 at-bats in 43 games – Gonzales blasted 13 home runs, drove in 38 and batted .322 with a 1.084 OPS.

He hasn’t stopped hitting yet; in 17 AFL games covering 63 at-bats, Gonzalez is swatting .381 with a 1.059 OPS, two homers and 13 RBIs. He’s also cut down on his strikeouts, as he has fanned 14 times while drawing 12 walks.

Gonzales, ranked as the No. 62 overall prospect in baseball and No. 4 in the Pirates system by MLB Pipeline, has primarily played second base in the AFL, although he has appeared in three games at shortstop.

The 22-year-old Bae, the Pirates’ No. 22 prospect, played at Double-A Altoona in 2021 and hit .278/.771. He did show some newfound pop, hitting seven homers after failing to hit one in his previous two seasons in the Pirates system. Originally a shortstop, Bae played the vast majority of his games at second base for Altoona, but he did see action in nine games in center field.

He has played eight games at second base and six in center field for Peoria of the AFL. There, Bae is batting .269/.758 in 67 at-bats.