As an aspiring major league player it’s a wonder why Justin Gonzalez has returned for his senior year. In 2009 shortstop from Miami had already been drafted in the 46th round by the Houston Astros and then last year he was drafted a second time in the 27th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rather than accepting the money, Gonzalez still feels there is unfinished business in Tallahassee, Fla.
“I’m big on setting goals for myself and reaching them,” said Gonzalez. “When I came to college, my biggest goal was winning a national championship. Having been to Omaha twice and seeing how close we got, leaving last year just didn’t feel right.”
Gonzalez’s story is a unique one considering what happened to former Seminole outfielder James Ramsey. In 2011 Ramsey made the – then controversial – decision when he turned down the Minnesota Twins and their $500,000 offer after being drafted in the 22nd round. Ramsey would later be a first round draft pick (23rd overall) of the 2012 Amateur Draft to the St. Louis Cardinals and agree to a $1.6 million signing bonus.
“I looked at [Ramsey’s story] as, if he could do it then I certainly could too,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t about the tangibles rather more about the personal goals for myself. [I wanted to] receive an education and get a national championship. That was my main focus.”
However, making it back to Omaha this year will be a challenge for Gonzalez and the rest of Florida State. Seven Seminoles were drafted last season, four seniors and three juniors, all gone with the exception of Gonzalez. Add to the young talent taking the field this season, eight freshman and six JUCO transfers coupled with the loss of Saturday starter, Mike Compton, who is out due to Tommy John surgery.
“These new guys brought a lot of new energy this team needs,” said Gonzalez. “Their talent is not far off; those guys can play. It didn’t take long for me to adjust to their style of play. It’s something exciting; it’s something I’m looking forward to seeing, watching them mature as the season goes.”
Whatever the outcome is for the upcoming season, there are no bad feelings about the ultimate decision Gonzalez made.
“Being a part of something like [the Florida State baseball program] and seeing it to the end, you can’t trade that away. You can’t put a price on it,” concluded Gonzalez. “I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m happy, I’m real happy with my decision.”