By Jason Wojciechowski on July 7, 2010 at 12:15 AM
In an attempt to keep this blog moving even when I don't have much long- or medium-form to say, I'm going to try to do a little more link-sharing. My links will often be a few days, or even weeks, late, but I'll try to keep them relevant, if not necessarily timely.
Today's link is to a "Not a rookie" post by John Sickels about Gio Gonzalez. My takeaway: it's easy to forget just how young Gonzalez is. He was drafted out of high school and his early minor league performances were so good that the White Sox basically had no choice but to promote him aggressively. His inning counts were still pretty low, so he wasn't being pitched aggressively, but he was just 22 when he hit the majors with the "A's. He struggled that year, 2008, with bunches of strikeouts and way too many walks. He's cut his walks back to a manageable 4.2 BB/9 this year, though his strikeout rate has fallen from the 9-10 K/9 of his first two Oakland years to just 7.3 this year. Still, because of the declined walk rate, his FIP and xFIP are still fine, hovering in the 4-4.5 range, perfectly respectable for an American League starting pitcher who doesn't cost his team much in terms of salary.
Now is about when he gets expensive, though, so it'll be an interesting question for the A's at the end of the year. Particularly if his ERA ends up in the 3.5 range that it's in now, he could get a decent payday in arbitration. On the other hand, since he'll still just be 25 and thus theoretically improving, that payday might underpay him enough that the A's would like to keep him around.