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9/19/1985 (31 y, 5 m)
2004 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1s, Pick: 8, Overall: 38, Team: Chicago White Sox
$42M / 5 Years (2012 - 2016) + 2 Option Years
The Nationals picked up Gonzalez's $12 million option for 2017 on Thursday, The Washington Post reports. (11/4/2016)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Gonzalez was unable to solidify his position in the Major league starting rotation this season yet again. After seven less-than-stellar starts last year, he ended up with 17 this year, and while he did show some meaningful improvement in all key areas, he still has some ways to go. His strikeouts rose, his walks fell and his ground balls increased. That's all good news and a big reason why his FIP improved from 7.04 to 4.47 and his tRA similarly. The problem is that the walks are still a real issue and are going to make his eventual mistakes with the long ball more painful.
The Year Ahead:
If the really small two-year progression holds to form, then Gonzalez is poised to break out in a huge way in 2010. Of course, that's a silly way to make predictions. Realistically, he's shown a real talent now over 140 or so innings of striking batters out, and his 2008 home-run rates were never going to stay that high. He'll be useful for strikeouts if he gets a regular rotation slot, but watch out for a high WHIP thanks to his lousy control. If he makes another stride with the walks, he could surprise quite a few people so he's worth keeping tabs on to see how Oakland's rotation begins to shake out come spring training. (Matthew Carruth)
Gio Gonzalez’s shiny 3.28 ERA last season got him a lot of attention. That is going to bump up his perceived value in draft stocks, but is it warranted? The three main luck-driven statistics for pitchers -- batting average on balls in play (BABIP), strand rate (LOB%) and home run per fly ball (HR/FB) -- were all better than the league average in 2010. Those are not primarily controllable for pitchers and the best guess for 2011 is that Gonzalez experiences regression in those areas, which will put upward pressure on his ERA. Gonzalez has a problem controlling his walks, as well, and so an increase in BABIP will likely push his WHIP to a number higher than the league average as well. Gonzalez has some good traits, namely health and a respectable strikeout rate, and, even with worse results in the other areas, he should be a decent pitcher. The problem is that his actual value is unlikely to match his perceived value thanks to that low ERA last season. Monitor where he is going in drafts but remain grounded in your expectations. (Matthew Carruth)
The Quick Opinion:
Beware the pitcher coming off a great ERA season with merely average strikeout rates. He shall be overvalued and prone to disappoint.
Gonzalez becomes the third cog in a suddenly powerful Nationals' rotation. The question will be if he deserves the ace-like treatment he received by the Nationals, who gave up a package of prospects similar to those which went out for pitchers like Zack Greinke, Mat Latos, and Matt Garza. Even factoring in the cavernous Coliseum, Gonzalez's sub-3.25 ERAs over the past two seasons are fantastic, checking in around an 80 ERA-. Nationals park is similarly gaping, so the park isn't the question here, it's if his peripherals catch up to him: with a career walk rate around 4.5 per nine innings, we should be expecting an ERA closer to 4.00 than 3.00. (Jack Moore)
The Quick Opinion:
Gonzalez will get a similarly friendly home park in Washington as he did in Oakland, so the question remains: can he strand enough of all those walks to stay as effective as he has the past two seasons?
Many looked for Gonzalez to take a significant step forward once the Nationals traded for him prior to the 2012 season, and the southpaw didn't disappoint. His 9.35 strikeouts per nine ranked number one amongst qualified starters in the National League, and his 2.82 FIP illustrates exactly how dominant he was last year. The most encouraging aspect of Gonzalez's season, however, was his decreased walk rate. He had dropped his walk rate every season since coming to the big leagues, and that trend continued with him only walking 9.3% of batters he faced. He didn't work in the strike zone more often (42.8% in 2011 and 42.7% in 2012), nor did he see his swinging-strike percentage increase. Instead, it seems Gio made a concerted effort to work ahead in the count early. His first-pitch strike percentage ballooned from 53.1% in 2011 to 59.0% in 2012 -- easily a career-high in his five major-league years. No doubt the move to the National League aided his numbers, too. Don't be shy. Confidently draft the 27-year-old as a top-ten starter for the upcoming year. He projects to be one of the main cogs in a high-powered Nationals machine. (JP Breen)
The Quick Opinion:
Gonzalez is a bona fide ace who can anchor your rotation, providing elite numbers in every major pitching category (except saves), and the left-hander should once again be a top-ten starting pitcher this season.
Repeated success can become boring over time, but that doesn’t make Gio Gonzalez any less valuable an asset. The 28-year-old threw 195 innings for the fourth straight season in 2013, sporting a 3.36 ERA that looked high given his recent successes. 11 wins hurt, but that’s hardly the fault of the pitcher and can be reasonably expected to rebound. What caused his drop from sixth to 40th in fantasy value wasn’t any one thing (other than wins), as Gonzalez performed marginally worse with strikeouts, walks, ground ball rate and batting average on balls in play. Essentially, everything Gonzalez did this year was just a shade worse than last year, with only the ground balls sticking out as something that was apparent with all of his non-fastball offerings. The drop in wins could see Gonzalez go at a slight discount in 2014, but don’t pay for regression all the way back to the top-10. (
The Quick Opinion:
Gio Gonzalez only won 11 games in 2013, through little fault of his own, dropping him from sixth to 40th in fantasy value. He remains very good though not quite elite, so be ready to pounce if the win total drops his draft-day price tag.
The Nationals deserve a ton of credit for making tweaks to Gonzalez’s already solid skill-set after acquiring him back in 2012. Since joining Washington, Gonzalez has seen his strikeout rate take a small step forward. More importantly, he's improved his walk rate, which had been an issue at other stops in his major league career. He’ll never be regarded as an elite control pitcher, but walks are far less of a problem than they were in Oakland. Gonzalez missed some time with shoulder issues in 2014, but they didn’t appear to be serious. He was able to return, and didn’t show any ill effects from the injury. There’s really nothing in his profile that suggests Gonzalez is in for regression, so expect more of the same in 2015. (
The Quick Opinion:
Gonzalez has been pretty darn good for five straight seasons. A shoulder issue limited his innings last season, but he bounced back with no issues. Expect more of the same going forward.
Relying more on his sinker than ever before, led Gonzalez to generate a career-best 53.8% ground ball rate, way up from 44.8% in 2014 and 43.9% in 2013. He traded some strikeouts for grounders, and checked in with his lowest strikeout percentage in his time in Washington, at 22.3%. His K% is going down, and his ERA is going up, just as it has every single year he’s donned the curly W. In December, he told MASN’s Byron Kerr that he wants to strike out more batters in 2016. His changeup is the pitch that generates the most whiffs per swing for him, and he threw it a bit harder than in 2014, and gave up almost an inch of drop on the offering. He ended 119 at bats with the change, and 31 of those resulted in a strikeout. When batters put the change in play, they benefitted from a .372 batting average on balls in play on the pitch. His BABIP for 2015 as a whole was a career-high .341. It will definitely be interesting to see how he chooses to chase more strikeouts in 2016. Draft him with confidence, and hope that the wins return to him like the Swallows of Capistrano. (Darren Schienbein)
The Quick Opinion:
Gonzalez hasn’t won more than 11 games in any of the past three seasons, but he’s averaged nearly 180 innings per year with a strikeout rate of 23.5%. He’s a valuable asset to have, and coming off two consecutive seasons where he didn’t crack 180 innings, you may be able to nab him at a bit of a discount. You’d be wise to do so.
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Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:32 AM ET
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