Gio Gonzalez, 2012
Stats: 32 games (32 starts), 199.1 innings pitched, 21-8 record, 2.89 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 1.129 WHIP, 207 strikeouts, 76 walks, 9 home runs, and an opponent’s slash line of .206/.283/.299
Awards: All-Star, 3rd in Cy Young voting, 20th in MVP voting
"“It doesn’t feel like a 20th win for myself. It feels like a 20th win for the team,” the lefty said. “This is a childhood dream, but at the same time, to do it with a team that’s in first place makes it that much better.” – Gio Gonzalez, 2012 (h/t Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post)"
For every season the Nationals have made the postseason, they’ve had an ace carrying their rotation. While Stephen Strasburg made all the headlines with his shutdown, Gio Gonzalez was putting together the first 20-win season in team history. In his first year in D.C., the 26-year old lefty became the first Nats starter to eclipse 200 strikeouts. The team relied on him to pitch in Game 1 of the NLDS, where he tossed five innings of two run ball.
Gio first rose to stardom in 2010 as a member of the Oakland A’s. He made the AL All-Star Team a year later, then was traded to Washington the following offseason.
Before he even threw a pitch in a Nationals uniform, Gonzalez signed a five-year, $42 million contract with two team options that brought the total value up to $65 million. While he has been inconsistent over the years since, he made a good first impression with his All-Star season in 2012.