Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gio Gonzalez – Fantasy Baseball Minor League Sleepers, Part 3 of 5

Gio Gonzalez is one of my top picks to have a major impact in fantasy baseball in 2007 the way Tim Lincecum or Yovai Gallardo did last year. Make no mistake, Gio Gonzalez isn’t as good as Lincecum or Gallardo in the short term, long term or ever. He is however the most elite of the 5 deep sleepers that I’ll be covering in the series and Minor League Baseball has him ranked 24th on their Top 50 list.

He threw 150 innings last year and 154.2 in 2006 both at AA. His base on balls went from 81 in 2006 down to 57 this last season and his Ks went from 166 to 185 in essentially the same amount of work. That’s roughly a 2.5 per 9 total improvement between both categories. His 11 Ks per 9 should maintain in the 8 K per 9 range once he finally gets a crack at the majors. Gonzalez also boasted a paltry .216 BA against last year.

He just turned 22 this fall and once he arrives will benefit from the White Sox bullpen. It appears that he has little else to prove in the minors so he’s one to watch in spring training. I’d expect something like a pace for 180 Ks, low to mid 4 ERA, low to mid 1.3 WHIP and 14-16 wins projected over the course of a 34 start 220 inning season. There’s no way they’ll let him throw that much during the regular season, especially since the Sox have realistic playoff potential. So look for Gonzalez to pitch out of the bullpen for a stretch at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the rotation in April and would be shocked if he wasn’t up by June at the latest.

In 2008 I think Gio Gonzalez will be nice middle of the rotation player in larger fantasy baseball formats like the NFBC and in smaller 10 and 12 team formats he’ll make for a nice spot starter with solid keeper potential.

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Johnny Cueto – Fantasy Baseball Minor League Sleepers, Part 1 of 5
Wladimir Balentien – Fantasy Baseball Minor League Sleepers, Part 2 of 5
Eric Patterson – Fantasy Baseball Minor League Sleepers, Part 4 of 5
Wade Davis – Fantasy Baseball Minor League Sleepers, Part 5 of 5

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