Friday, March 20, 2009
30 A's in 30 Days – Gio Gonzalez
Acquired: Traded from Chicago (AL) as part of package for Nick Swisher (January 3, 2008).
Contract: One year thru 2009. Eligible for arbitration after 2011.
Position: Could be starter, could be reliever
Projected ERA: 4.59
Over/Under: If Gonzalez can find a way to gain consistent command of his stuff, he could get that ERA under 4.00. Kid's got a nice low-90s fastball and a bludgeoning curveball, but even Gonzalez doesn't know where they're going to land from start-to-start. I watched him get rattled by road crowds, runners on base and defensive miscues in the 10 games he appeared. It seems crazy unlikely that he'll figure it all out between the ears over one offseason, but his pure stuff could result in a poor man's 1990-92 Randy Johnson. OVER.
By the Numbers: 141 – The A's rookie record for strikeouts in a season held by Rick Langford (1977). Gonzalez is a lock to clear that hurdle with room to spare, assuming he gets enough starts in '09. Unfortunately, it'll be another 32 years before anyone tops Langford's mustachioed swagga.
Surefire '09 Prediction: With Gonzalez's rookie status still in tact, he'll likely be forced to participate in another round of freshman hazing. Can he top last year's "Swiss Miss" ensemble? I'm guessing – no, I'm certain he can.