After the signing of the big-name lefty pitcher, many believe there will be a battle for the top of this rotation. As of now, it seems manager Rick Renteria will be giving Lucas Giolito the role of ace coming off what is believed to be his breakout year.
After holding the worst ERA among qualifying starting pitchers, it was clear Giolito needed to change his approach completely. Since debuting his new, more efficient delivery at the beginning of the 2019 season, it was clear Giolito was poised for a spectacular year.
In 176.2 innings pitched Giolito finished 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA. He started in 29 games and threw three complete games, two of which were shutouts. He struck out 228 while only allowing 57 walks. The home runs given up were a bit higher than most would have preferred at 24, but still an all-around season and a tremendous improvement from his 6.13 ERA just one year before.
While developing a great relationship with catcher James McCann, Giolito gets another brain to pick in Yasmani Grandal. With the combined knowledge of McCann, Grandal and pitching coach legend Don Cooper, Giolito has been set up to not only reach but suppress his Cy Young-like potential
The role of mentor was abruptly thrown upon him when a young prospect made his debut last season. Yes, he was doing fantastic, but it was only July when this happened. He provided great knowledge for this young pitcher, but the addition of a former Cy Young pitcher who has postseason knowledge helps alleviate the stress Giolito most likely had as he was being rushed into a mentor role.