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White Sox: Lucas Giolito had a very bad 2018 season

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 24: Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox waits for manager Rick Renteria #17 (L) to take him out of the game in the 2nd inning after giving up six runs against the Baltimore Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 24, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 24: Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox waits for manager Rick Renteria #17 (L) to take him out of the game in the 2nd inning after giving up six runs against the Baltimore Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 24, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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It’s no secret that Lucas Giolito was one of the worst pitchers in the White Sox rotation.

But, what is a surprise is how bad the White Sox starter’s 2018 season was.

As a qualifying starter with at least one inning pitched per team game, Giolito was the worst pitcher in the MLB (both AL and NL) when looking at ERA.

Giolito started 32 games for the Sox where he pitched a total of 173.1 innings. In 2018, 57 pitchers qualified for an ERA title and Giolito finished in 57th place  ERA with a 6.13. In 56th place was Dylan Bundy with the Baltimore Orioles who had an ERA of 5.45. In 51st place, was Giolito’s teammate, James Shields. Reynaldo Lopez was the only other White Sox pitcher who qualified, and he ranked 35th with an ERA of 3.91. The top two pitchers were Jacob deGrom and Blake Snell with 1.70 and 1.89 respectively.

Not surprisingly, Giolito’s terrible 2018 included taking top honors in other pitching categories. He gave up the most earned runs, 118. In the AL, he walked the most batters, letting 90 men get free bases. In the MLB, he finished second in walks, behind Tyler Chatwood with the Cubs. Another stat that he dominated in the AL was bases stolen. In the AL, 26 baserunners advanced for free when he was on the mound. Only two NL pitchers, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard had more bases stolen.

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When looking at batters facing him, Giolito gave up way too many hits and runs. Again, of the 57 qualifying pitchers, Giolito ranked 57th in hitter on-base percentage – .350. Giolito was not at the bottom with slugging percentage or OPS, but he was in the 50s in both categories. He did give up the most walks per nine innings – 4.67 of qualifying pitchers.

If the White Sox want to make it to the playoffs, they have to have better pitching. Unless the front office decides to move him in the off-season, he could be with the Sox for a few more years. He’s under team control and doesn’t enter arbitration until 2021. His free agency doesn’t start until 2024.

In 2017, one of the worst pitchers in the MLB was Ubaldo Jimenez with the Baltimore Orioles. He had the most earned runs – 108. He also had one of the highest ERAs in the MLB – 6.81. Because he only pitched 142.2 innings, he did not qualify. (Of qualifying pitchers in 2017, the highest ERA was 5.52 and belonged to Matt Moore of the Padres). Jimenez’s 2017 season was so bad that he could not find a job in the 2018 season. He didn’t even pitch in the minor leagues in 2018 – that’s how bad he was.

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If Giolito cannot clean up his pitching, he could find himself in the Jimenez boat as a mediocre pitcher without a team. No one wants a pitcher with an ERA over 6.00. No team will get to the playoffs with a starting pitcher like that.

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