Fresh off his steroid scandal, Gio Gonzalez is primed for a strong 2013. He threw 199.1 innings last year, with a 2.89 ERA, 207 Ks, 76 walks, and a 1.13 WHIP, all while leading baseball with 21 wins. He was named an All-Star and finished third in the voting for the NL Cy Young Award, behind only R.A. Dickey and Clayton Kershaw. Following up an incredible season like that can be difficult, but Gonzalez is only 27, and still improving as a pitcher. While a sub-3 ERA can be tough to maintain, most are high on Gio, and his projections for 2013 are good:
ZiPS: 200 IP, 200 K, 76 BB, 3.02 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
MLB.com: 201 IP, 203 K, 77 BB, 3.09 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
CBSSports: 205 IP, 207 K, 80 BB, 3.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
ESPN Fantasy: 204 IP, 208 K, 80 BB, 3.09 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Averages: 203 IP, 205 K, 78 BB, 3.11 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
It’s nice to have some consensus for once, huh? When a pitcher has performed at a certain consistent rate for three years, it can be pretty easy to guess how he’s going to do the next year. All indications are that Gonzalez will stay an ace, keeping up all of his stellar numbers for another healthy year. The only concern that owners may once have had was of a steroid suspension, but with the news that Gonzalez passed a drug test two days after the story connecting him to Biogenesis broke, that will almost certainly not be an issue. Gonzalez is a top-20 fantasy starter at least, and will be owned in all leagues barring an injury. He’s probably not primed for any sort of surprising year, so his draft slot will represent his value, but he’ll be a top contributor on a lot of good teams. As a National, he’ll continue to be one of the NL’s best starters, and he and Stephen Strasburg will form an extremely potent punch at the top of the rotation.