However, when he first arrived on the scene he struggled mightily as he registered a 6.75 ERA, 8.21 FIP, and 1.781 WHIP in six appearances (four starts) with the Washington Nationals. He also walked 12 batters as compared to striking out only 11.
I was actually at his second career start against the New York Mets at Citi Field and was very curious why this guy was even ever considered the best the prospect in baseball. He allowed four runs and two homers in 3 2/3 innings that night and his stuff just left a lot to be desired at the time in, my opinion.
During that offseason, the Nationals decided they needed another outfielder and when the opportunity arose, they acquired Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning.
At the time, the perception was that the Nationals were selling low on Giolito, with the team worrying that his first MLB season struggles were more of what was to come down the road with him.
In his first season with the White Sox, he started seven games for them and actually had a superb 2.38 ERA and 0.949 WHIP. The bad news was that his peripherals suggested that wasn’t going to last long-term as he had a 4.94 FIP, meaning his ERA was more of an aberration than a sign of growth.
That proved to be true as in 2018 Giolito’s ERA spiked all the way up to 6.13 and his WHIP (1.477) and FIP (5.56) both rose significantly as well.
That season appeared to prove the point the Nationals hinted at when they traded him: that Giolito was a bust and that they needed to trade him while he still had value.
Well, that thinking proved to be very wrong in 2019.
So far, Giolito, 25, has had the best season of his career through 25 starts that led to his first All-Star appearance.
In 151 2/3 innings, Giolito has a 14-6 record, 3.20 ERA, 3.20 FIP, and 1.095 WHIP to go along with a strikeout rate of 11.5 K/9, almost doubling his previous career-high of 6.8 K/9 in 2017.
This also includes two complete-game shutouts and three complete games overall. His two complete-game shutouts were against elite offenses as well in the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.
His one against the Twins on Wednesday was a phenomenal outing in which he struck out 12 and only allowed three hits on a lowly 115 pitches.
Giolito should be a fixture in the Chicago White Sox rotation for years to come too, as he doesn’t hit arbitration until after the 2020 season and won’t be a free agent until the conclusion of the 2023 season.
Sure, Adam Eaton is a solid player, but Lucas Giolito is a top-tier pitcher in the league now and that trade is certainly one the Nationals wish they could have back.