Is It Time We Accept Gio Gonzalez As A Top 20 Pitcher?

Gio Gonzalez surprised some when he won 15 games with a 3.23 ERA and 171 strikeouts last year. His high walk rate (4.1 BB/9) led many to doubt a repeat. Considering he had ERAs of 7.68 and 5.75 in 2008 and 2009 it wasn't hard to argue against regression. Personally, I had faith in Gio because his curveball is so devastating and his minor league numbers suggested improvement in the strikeout department. As long as that little bit of control he has didn't disappear he seemed destined to build on a strong 2010. So far in 2011 Gonzalez has been outstanding, capped by a 1 hit eight inning performance on Wednesday. His 2.38 ERA ranks 6th in the majors and his 99 strikeouts are 12th. His worst category is his 1.24 WHIP which ranks 45th among starters.

His 3.30 FIP suggests he may have been a little lucky to have a 2.38 ERA but it still ranks 31st in the majors. He is walking basically the same amount of batters as last season but the free passes are doing less damage thanks to fewer hits and home runs allowed. Gonzalez combines a borderline elite K rate with well above average groundball rates and a pitchers park to call home. All of this is a perfect cocktail for some stellar fantasy numbers

Now that he has a year and a half of strong play, I ask you how much confidence do you have in Gio's ability to remain among the game's top fantasy pitchers?

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