We have gone a little more in depth into each one of the starting pitchers for the Nationals and now it is Gio Gonzalez‘s turn. The left-handed hurler is going to be playing in his third season in D.C. after coming over from Oakland after the 2011 season. In his two seasons in D.C. he has been very solid and done what was needed to win ball games.
Just how good has Gio been?
Well first off let’s start with innings pitched. He has pitched at least 195 innings and gotten 32 starts the last two seasons. In those innings he has struck out around nine per nine innings. Those numbers have been pretty steady his entire career. Over the last three seasons he has hovered around 200 K’s in a season. The one improvement that he has made is his walks allowed. He has cut down his walks by almost two per nine innings since 2009.
He is another Nats pitcher that throws a lot of ground balls. Just over 43% to be exact. The one problem with this is that this percentage is going down while his home run to fly ball ratio is going up. He gives up a homer, on average, one out of every ten fly balls. This is another reason why his left on base percentage has gone down in recent years. He has trouble getting the double play ball when he needs it.
His fastball percentage went up last season almost three percent, for one reason. He was falling behind in the count. He would get the count to 0-1 and then struggle to find the zone. If you fall behind in the count, you can’t throw breaking stuff. That is one thing he will need to work on this winter — when getting ahead in the count, he needs to stay ahead.
Last season he must have fooled some hitters because his swings outside the strike zone were the best of his career. He may be a little wild at times but when he needs to make a pitch, he makes it.
So what should we expect from Gio in 2014? Another Gio type season. He will get his strikeouts, he will walk a few more guys than you would like, but he will get the job done and give the Nationals a chance to win. If the Nats are going to go to the promise land in 2014, Gio will have to produce and I expect him to do just that.