White Sox right-handed pitcher didn’t have much success pitching in his first full season in the Majors. Can he rebound from poor 2018 to have success in 2019?
The 2018 season was poor for not only the White Sox but for one of their starting pitchers in Lucas Giolito. Coming off a 2017 season where he pitched well in a short seven-start stint with the Sox, Giolito was the worst starting pitcher in the Majors in 2018. Coming off a bad season in 2018, can Giolito rebound and have a successful campaign in 2019?
There were some bright spots for Giolito during this past season but they were overshadowed by his struggles throughout the 2018 campaign. Giolito was once the top-ranked prospect while he was in the Washington Nationals farm system.
In 2016, the Sox made a decision to rebuild in the offseason of that year and obtained Giolito in a trade with the Nationals that included Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning in exchange for Adam Eaton. Lopez was the best starting pitcher for the Sox this past season and Dunning was good in the minors with Double-A Birmingham before going down with an injury.
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Giolito, however, finished 2018 with the most wins for a Sox starting pitcher with a 10-13 record but had a 6.13 ERA in 32 starts. The 24-year-old right-hander got off to a horrible start this past season and finished poorly for the Sox in September. Giolito lasted just 1.1 innings in his final start on Sept. 28 against the Minnesota Twins.
After getting off to a bad start to the season, there was hope Giolito was turning the corner in July going into August. Giolito put together some quality starts in July as he pitched six innings or more in three of his five starts that month while allowing no more than three earned runs in those three starts.
Going into August, Giolito continued his stretch of strong outings as he finished the month with five quality starts, including four in a row. The good times wouldn’t last for Giolito in September. In the final month of the season, Giolito allowed three or more earned runs in all five of his starts and had two short outings of just 1.1 innings pitched.
Entering next season, Giolito’s spot in the Sox pitching rotation could be in jeopardy. Although he will be entering just his second complete season pitching in the Majors, there is a tremendous amount of pitching depth in the minors. The Sox have also been rumored to be interested in free agent starting pitchers this offseason.
Giolito will need a major rebound in 2019 to continue to be considered in future plans for the Sox. We all saw how quickly the Sox gave up on Carson Fulmer as a major league starting pitcher in 2018. Giolito could follow a similar path if his struggles continue going into next season.