MINNEAPOLIS - Last summer was "Show Time" for San Marcos, Calif., top prospect Stephen Gonsalves. This summer promises to offer more of the same, and Gonsalves got it started by attending one of amateur baseball's biggest shows this week.
Gonsalves is your prototypical "rangy" left-hander and outfielder who will be a senior at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego in the fall. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder with a fastball that typically sits in the 90-92 mph range, is at the Perfect Game National Showcase being held inside the Metrodome, and is hoping to make an impression on the more than 300 scouts who have been in attendance the first two days.
"It's an honor playing with all the top kids in the nation and being able to pick their brains a little bit and see their work ethic and add onto my work ethic," Gonsalves said late Thursday afternoon. "It's just great being out here and meeting all the new guys. I know there are going to be the best of the best out here and I just have to put myself one level above them and be confident around all of them. It makes me a stronger player just knowing how hard they work."
Gonsalves is already at least one level ahead of most of the more than 300 high-level prospects who will be at the National between Wednesday and this coming Monday. He is the No. 14-ranked national prospect in the class of 2013 (No. 3 in California and No. 2 as a left-handed pitcher) and has committed to play at his hometown school, the University of San Diego.
Gonsalves is coming off a spring high school season in which he went 10-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched - he is also a highly regarded outfielder and hitter - and got his 2012 summer season started at last weekend's Perfect Game Sunshine West Showcase at Chula Vista, Calif. It was at the 2010 PG Sunshine West where Gonsalves made his Perfect Game debut, and the PG National is his 11th PG event since then.
Many more PG events are sure to be added to his already impressive resume in the coming months. Gonsalves has been a standout for the nationally prominent San Diego Show team coached by Brian Cain over the last two years, the same outfit that won a pair of Perfect Game national championships in 2011.
During a two-week stretch last July down in Marietta, Ga., the Show won the championship at the PG WWBA 2011 Grads or 18u National Championship and advanced to the semifinal round of the PG WWBA 2012 Grads or 17u National Championship before bowing out.
In late September and playing in 100-degree heat, the Show won the title at the Perfect Game/EvoShield National Championship (Upper class) held at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick spring training complex in Scottsdale, Ariz.
By winning the PG WWBA 18u National Championship, the Show became the first team from the West Coast to win a PG WWBA tournament. They had to beat two East Cobb Baseball organization teams in the semifinals and finals to claim the championship in games played at the East Cobb Baseball Complex.
“That last out at East Cobb was something special. There was a lot of hard work crammed into just a few weeks,” Cain said a couple of months after the championship. “I knew I had all the pieces of the puzzle and our kids were extremely confident. Not cocky, but extremely confident. I knew I had guys that would be leaders on the field for me.”
Gonsalves remembers some of the other details of those two weeks spent in the northwest Atlanta suburbs.
"It can get a little overwhelming with all the teams down there," he said Thursday. "And then with the weather - I went from San Diego and 78 degrees and no humidity to pitching in a game where it was 105 (degrees) 95 percent humidity at 7 o'clock tonight. It was a new experience but it gets me all prepared for the future."
Gonsalves was also one of eight San Diego Show players - including 2011 Perfect Game All-American Corey Oswalt, a seventh-round pick of the New York Mets in the 2012 MLB amateur draft two weeks ago - that hooked up with head coach Ron Slusher and Ohio Warhawks to play at the 2011 PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla.
"I was able to play with the Ohio Warhawks my freshman year, too, and that was a good experience," Gonsalves said. "Ron Slusher is great guy and knows what he's doing with those kids; being out there with kids I knew this time around, it was just so much fun."
Perfect Game ranks Gonsalves as the No. 43 overall prospect in the 2013 MLB draft (No. 16 among high school seniors) which could conceivably make him a first round compensation pick. He committed to San Diego before his sophomore year in high school, and liked the fact that the USD coaching staff also appreciates the way he can swing the bat.
"I committed with USD to be a two-way player and I still see myself continuing to hit at the next level," he said. "If I do sign with MLB and end up in the National League I would still be hitting, so I always have to keep that bat with me."
Regardless of the level at which he's playing in the fall of 2013, Gonsalves feels like he'll be prepared.
"Being able to play with the Show, they got me some great experiences out there," he said. "Just being in those big games get me prepared for everything else in life. God blessed me with this gift and (I appreciate) just being able to go out and play a game every day that I love."