Is Gio Gonzalez in for a Career Year?”
In 2012, Gio Gonzalez finished third place in Cy Young voting after winning 21 games, putting up a 2.89 ERA, and striking out 207 hitters. In the next three seasons, Gonzalez would average 10.7 wins, a 3.57 ERA, and 174.3 strikeouts per year.
He’s gotten off to a fast start to the 2016 season, boasting a 1.42 ERA, 0.99 WHP, and 25 strikeouts through four starts. The Nats’ left-hander has pitched at least six innings in each appearance, while reaching the seventh twice.
Gonzalez is sporting an 8.88 K/9, which is pretty close to his career average of 8.83, but has done a much better job at limiting free passes (2.49 BB/9 in 2016 compared to 3.82 career). What’s been working for him? According to the data over at Brooks Baseball, Gonzalez’s curveball has substantially improved. He’s induced swings and misses 19.7 percent of the times he’s thrown the pitch, up from 14.1 percent in his eight seasons prior.
Mechanical adjustments aside, Gio just looks a lot more comfortable out on the mound. He has kept his emotions in check, especially in high-leverage situations. If these first four starts are indicative of what’s to come, Gonzalez could be in for a huge year.
As we saw in 2012, Gio is very capable of posting All-Star caliber numbers, it is just a question of whether he can regain that form after three straight seasons of being a good-not-great type pitcher. In wake of his hot start to the season… so far, so good.