As we await the 2020 season for the Chicago White Sox, I can’t help but get excited about what’s possible for Lucas Giolito.
I’ll preface all of this by saying that Giolito is my favorite player on the team, but I’ll try to keep the bias out. Coming off of an extraordinary 2019 campaign that featured shutouts against some of the league’s top offensive clubs and 14 wins (that should have been more if we’re being honest), there’s no reason Gio can’t continue to perform.
If you take the first 60 games of the 2019 season, Giolito made 11 starts and his numbers were better than anyone had hoped. In the team’s 59th game, he threw 7.1 innings, giving up five hits while striking out nine and walking none in a 2-0 Sox win. This pushed his record to 8-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.54.
Breaking down Giolito's starts, he gave up three or fewer earned runs in nine of them. He allowed five earned runs in a 9-2 White Sox loss to Seattle and gave up four to the Yankees in a 9-6 win. Giolito never struck out fewer than four batters in this stretch. One could argue that the walks could come down, as he had a few starts where he allowed four free passes. However, there is no question that his cruise-controlled beginning of the 2019 season was something we could all appreciate.
While it is tough to directly compare the first 60 of a 162-game schedule to what MLB teams are about to embark on, these numbers can at least allow you to imagine the possibilities of what’s to come. The uncertainty of game preparation for pitchers remains, as does the question of who has the upper hand, pitchers or batters? Regardless, if Lucas Giolito can somehow replicate the aforementioned numbers, the White Sox will have one of the best starters in the league for the second year in a row.
See Lucas Giolito’s 2020 simulated stats here.