White Sox young starting pitchers will face a tough test in 2018 as they will start their first full seasons in the majors.
Chicago White Sox fans got a glimpse of what the future of this team’s starting rotation could be at the end of last season. Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Carson Fulmer each had solid outings in the final month of the 2017 campaign.
Although each young pitcher had nice starts at the end of last season, they could experience some growing pains during the 2018 season. This will be the first year each pitcher will presumably start an entire major league season. The Sox aren’t expected to contend this upcoming season, but each pitcher will be expected to show progress in their development.
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Giolito may have had the more dominant final month of the 2017 season out of the aforementioned pitchers. The 2012 first round draft pick made five starts in the final month of last season and didn’t give up more than three earned runs in any of those outings. After being promoted in late August, Giolito made a total of seven starts to finish 2017 with a 3-3 record and 2.38 ERA.
The 23-year-old flashed dominance on the mound at times last season. Giolito showed why he was a highly regarded prospect with the Washington Nationals. However, Giolito will be tasked with possibly being the Sox second starting pitcher to begin the 2018 season. The right-hander still needs to work on missing more bats as he only had 34 strikeouts in 2017 through 45.1 innings pitched.
Lopez had a solid debut start for the Sox last season. However, he hit a bump in the road after he had to be placed on the disabled list after his second outing. The 24-year-old finished 2017 with quality starts in four of his last six outings. Lopez has the most major league experience between him, Giolito and Fulmer. He will need to pitch deep into games more consistently this year as he only had one start that lasted seven innings with the Sox in 2017.
Fulmer appeared to have proven critics wrong to end the 2017 season. The 2015 first round draft pick had success as a starter in the majors. After his disastrous first major league start, Fulmer turned it around to end last year on a high note. Fulmer made five total starts to finish 2017 with a 3-1 record and 3.86 ERA. For 2018, Fulmer will need to consistently pitch effectively on the mound as he only had two starts where he lasted six innings last season.