Now that All Stars Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have each completed half a major league season, we can combine their stats to get a look at what the Nationals top two starters would look like over the equivalent of a full season. I've also added in the statistics from recent NL Cy Young award winners to see how "Stephen Gonzalez" stacks up against them.
|Clayton Kershaw (2011)||33||233.1||21||5||248||54||174||15||59||2.28||0.98||9.57||2.08||4.59||0.58|
|Roy Halladay (2010)||33||250.2||21||10||219||30||231||24||68||2.44||1.04||7.86||1.08||7.30||0.86|
|Tim Lincecum (2009)||32||225.1||15||9||261||68||168||10||62||2.48||1.05||10.42||2.72||3.84||0.40|
|Tim Lincecum (2008)||33||227||18||5||265||84||182||11||66||2.62||1.17||10.51||3.33||3.15||0.44|
Stephen Gonzalez looks like an excellent ace pitcher, but seems to fall just short of the Cy Young threshhold. The most obvious difference is in innings pitched. Even if we added one more start, S. Gonzalez is throwing an inning less per game than the other aces. Thanks to an excellent bullpen, this hasn't had much of a negative impact on wins and losses, but it's certainly an area where our combined pitcher is less impressive.
The other key area where Stephen Gonzalez comes up short is walks. He's walking about one extra batter per nine innings compared to the Cy Young winners and this is probably the biggest reason for the half a run difference in ERA and .05 to .10 difference in WHIP.
On the positive side, Stephen Gonzalez has the best strikeout rate of the bunch and holds his own in home runs as well as wins and losses.
Overall, I'd say that the last three Cy Young award winners are a step ahead of our guy based on innings pitched and ERA, but he might have had a slight edge out Tim Lincecum back in 2008. The run environment has become much more favorable to pitchers since then, however, so that's not entirely a fair comparison. No matter what, though, the Nationals still have two solid aces at the top of their rotation.