Oral Roberts pitcher Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez has a simple explanation for the cut fastball that helped get him drafted by the Texas Rangers with the 23rd pick in the 2013 First-Year Entry Draft.
"It's a little natural thing," Gonzalez said. "God-given, basically."
The Rangers went against the grain and drafted a college pitcher for the first time since taking Thomas Diamond in 2004 for many reasons, one of the biggest being a cutter that is flat-out lethal and could get Gonzalez to the big leagues at a quick pace.
Gonzalez developed his cutter during his sophomore year at Oral Roberts under the tutelage of then-head coach Rob Walton, now the pitching coach at Oklahoma State. Walton produced 12 conference pitchers of the year in 14 years as the head coach at Oral Roberts.
Gonzalez also throws a slider that he says works as a slurve. But it's his natural cutter that sits 92 to 93 mph that has wowed scouts.
"My four-seam fastball tends to cut outside to a right-handed hitter," said Gonzalez, who also is working on a changeup that he labels a developmental pitch. "It's got tight velocity."
The Rangers honed in on Gonzalez during the fall with scout Jay Eddings developing a good relationship with the right-hander. Add in an interesting twist -- Gonzalez's high school coach, Justin Timmerman, is now Eddings' son Ryan's high school coach in Sperry, Okla.
The Rangers like work ethic and that he has an out pitch, his slider.
"It's the right fit for me," Gonzalez said of being drafted by the Rangers.
As for his nickname, Chi Chi, Gonzalez said he got it from his grandfather.
"He called my oldest sister Nina and my other sister Nene," Gonzalez said. "He gave me Chi Chi."