photo: Derian Gonzalez (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
2020 left behind one more terrible event, as on Thursday, former St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Derian Gonzalez died in a motorcycle accident in his native Venezuela. He was 25 years old.
The right-hander had been pitching in winter ball for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League and reportedly agreed to terms on a new contract for 2021 with the Atlanta Braves in recent days. Gonzalez, who first signed with St. Louis in 2012, had become a minor league free agent this past fall.
News of the tragedy was first disclosed by Venezuelan journalist Marcos Grunfeld on Thursday.
Braves’ RHP Derian Gonzalez was killed in a motorcycle accident in Venezuela. He was signed by the Atlanta Braves a few days ago.
— Marcos Grunfeld / Suscríbete a mi canal de YouTube (@bvenezolano) December 31, 2020
Peaking as the 33rd-ranked prospect in the system according to The Cardinal Nation, Gonzalez’ once-promising career stalled in 2018, when the right-hander was able to throw just 33 1/3 innings due to shoulder problems that continued to dog him since.
In 2018, he posted a solid 2.76 ERA at Springfield, but in his first eight games with Memphis, delivered a 5.91 mark. To be protected from the 2017 Rule 5 draft, Gonzalez had been added to the 40-man roster in November 2017, but was outrighted off one year later, going unclaimed.
Gonzalez missed the 2019 season entirely and was not selected to join the alternate camp in Springfield this past summer, likely due to his ongoing shoulder problems.
He finished his career with a 3.51 ERA to go with 361 strikeouts and 155 walks in 366 2/3 professional innings.
May he rest in peace…
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