White Sox: Can Miguel Gonzalez Be Reliable Next Season?

White Sox received solid production from unlikely source this past season. Can the veteran right-hander duplicate his 2016 season for next season?

The Chicago White Sox entered the 2016 season with five starters in Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Mat Latos and John Danks. Miguel Gonzalez, started spring training with the Baltimore Orioles but was released on April 1.

The Sox wasted little time acquiring the veteran pitcher by singing Gonzalez on April 3. The native Mexican didn’t make his first start of the season until April 25. In the start, Gonzalez pitched 5.1 innings giving up five earned runs, but recording six strikeouts.

Although Gonzalez didn’t last more than five innings in his first start with the Sox, the team would eventually win the game against Toronto. Gonzalez didn’t make another start until May 9 against the Rangers, but this start was much better. Gonzalez lasted 5.1 innings but gave up one earned run and recorded four strikeouts. He would later become a mainstay in the Sox rotation with the release of Danks.

Gonzalez would go on to have a solid 2016 as he finished with a 5-8 record and 3.73 ERA. To go along with his record, Gonzalez pitched 135 innings and recorded 95 strikeouts. In 2015 with the Orioles, Gonzalez finished that season with a 9-12 record and 4.91 ERA. Although his 2016 was strong, can the Sox count on Gonzalez next season to produce similar results?

The Sox will most likely need Gonzalez to be an adequate number four or five starter in the rotation. Gonzalez was much better than James Shields, but he’s never pitched 200 innings or more in a single season. The most innings Gonzalez has pitched in a season is 171.1 in 2013. Gonzalez won’t be relied upon to pitch seven innings with every start, but if the Sox are hoping to contend they will need durability from Gonzalez.

Gonzalez missed time this season due to a groin injury, but returned with a solid start against the Tigers on Sept. 6. In his return from injury, Gonzalez pitched 6.1 innings against Detroit giving up no earned runs. Gonzalez ended his season with his longest outing of 2016 against the Rays. In his start on Sept. 28, Gonzalez pitched 8.1 scoreless innings.

The Sox will certainly need solid contributions from Gonzalez next season, but if he struggles they don’t have much depth in the minor leagues to replace him. If Gonzalez can replicate his 2016 season, the Sox could very well have a strong pitching rotation for 2017. Gonzalez will be 33 on May 27, but his age shouldn’t prevent him from having a successful 2017. He will just need to remain durable in order to give the Sox a good chance at contending.

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