González with the Nationals in 2012
|Washington Nationals – No. 47|
Born: September 19, 1985|
|August 6, 2008, for the Oakland Athletics|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2016 season)
|Earned run average||3.73|
|Career highlights and awards|
Giovany Aramis "Gio" González (born September 19, 1985) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to pitching for the Nationals, he played for the Oakland Athletics. He is of Cuban descent.
González was born in Hialeah, Florida to a Cuban immigrant mother from Havana and a first-generation Cuban-American father from New Jersey. He attended Hialeah High School in Hialeah, for the first three years of his high school career, where they won two state championships and nearly won a third. After his junior year, he transferred over to Monsignor Edward Pace High School in 2004 where he played with former teammate Chris Marrero.
In 2005, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Aaron Rowand and Daniel Haigwood for slugger Jim Thome. While with the Phillies, Baseball America rated González the number-2 prospect in their farm system behind Cole Hamels in 2006.
On January 3, 2008, the White Sox traded González along with fellow prospects Ryan Sweeney and Fautino de los Santos for outfielder Nick Swisher to the Oakland Athletics. He was ranked the #1 prospect in the White Sox system at the time of the trade.
González was selected to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. At the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona, González was called out to the mound with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and struck out the only batter he would face, Jay Bruce. On the final day of the 2011 season, González threw eleven strikeouts over eight shut-out innings against the Seattle Mariners to secure a career-high 16 wins for the season.
On December 23, 2011, González was traded with Robert Gilliam to the Washington Nationals for Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Derek Norris and A. J. Cole. On January 15, 2012 González signed a five-year extension worth $42 million through 2016 covering his arbitration-eligible years. The deal also includes club options for 2017 and 2018.
González became the first pitcher since 1918 to have three consecutive appearances in which he finished a start with at least six shutout innings and no more than two hits allowed. González set a Nationals record when he pitched 25 consecutive scoreless innings, that ended on April 29, 2012. When the 2012 MLB All-Star Game roster was announced on July 1, González found himself on it for the second time in his career. Later that same day, he earned his 11th win on the season after the Nationals topped the Atlanta Braves, 8–4. González would earn one more win in his last start before the All-Star break, pushing his record to 12–3 and lowering his ERA to 2.92, and in doing so, was tied for the most number of wins on the first half of the season. His win total tied a Nationals record set in 2005 by Liván Hernández.
On August 8, 2012, González hit his first career home run off Houston Astros pitcher Armando Galarraga and pitched his second career complete game. On August 31, González pitched his first career shutout in a 10–0 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals.
When González and the Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers on September 22, it moved his record to 20–8 and he became the first pitcher in the MLB to reach the 20-win mark on the season. He finished the regular season with a major league best 21 wins, to go along with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts, winning the 2012 Warren Spahn Award as the best left-handed pitcher in the majors. González finished third in NL Cy Young voting in 2012.
In the first half of 2014, González went 6-5 with a 3.56 ERA. On July 20, 2014, González recorded his 1,000th career strikeout against the Milwaukee Brewers, including 511 strikeouts with the Oakland Athletics and 489 strikeouts with the Washington Nationals. He ended the 2014 season with a 10-10 record and a 3.57 ERA.
González throws four pitches: a four-seam fastball at 92–95 mph, a two-seam fastball at 91–95, a curveball at 78–82, and a changeup at 85–87 that is used against right-handed hitters. His curveball is used frequently when he is ahead in the count, especially against left-handers.
González's pitches have above-average strike out rate whiff rates, with the curveball leading at 36% and the changeup close behind at 35%. His curve also has an outstanding ground ball/fly ball ratio at nearly 7:1. Gio says of his excellent curveball:
My curveball is a blessing. My father taught it to me. He felt that it was a pitch he wanted me to learn, right on the side of the house, and it just ended up working. I never asked what the tricks were, or anything like that. He made it simple for me to use on my own form, and it works for me. I've never changed my grip since the day my dad showed me how to throw it. He taught me how to try to make it look exactly like a fastball.
González is a strikeout pitcher, with a rate of nearly 1 per inning over his career. He was fourth in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched in the AL in 2011, and he is second in the NL for the 2012 season (as of 17 August 2012).
Gio González is engaged to Berenice Lea Moures. They have one child together, Enzo Louis González, born on March 17, 2016.
In 2012, González created the GIO (Giving Individuals Opportunities) foundation, a charity to assist medical patients in need of financial support. He is also a comic book hobbyist.
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- Milon, Hayley (June 5, 2012). "Gio's new charity paying immediate dividends". MLB.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- "Kristina Akra sits down with Gio Gonzalez to discuss his personality, family and love of comics". YouTube. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
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