The book Lucas Giolito: The Making of a Cy Young Winner is a detailed account of the life and career of baseball pitcher Lucas Giolito. The book chronicles Giolito’s journey from his early days as a highly touted prospect to his present-day status as one of the game’s best pitchers. Giolito was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut in 2016 and quickly established himself as a top pitching prospect. In 2017, Giolito had a breakout season, posting a 2.38 ERA and finishing sixth in the National League Cy Young Award voting. The following year, Giolito took his game to another level, winning the Cy Young Award after posting a 2.52 ERA and leading the National League in strikeouts. Lucas Giolito: The Making of a Cy Young Winner is an inside look at the life and career of one of baseball’s brightest young stars.
1. Lucas Giolito: The Making of a Cy Young Winner
When Lucas Giolito arrived in the majors, he was raw. His fastball was electric, but his command was erratic, and he struggled to put hitters away. In his first two seasons, he posted a 5.48 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. But Giolito made a dramatic leap forward in 2019, posting a 3.41 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP while striking out 228 batters in 176 innings. He was even better in 2020, winning the American League Cy Young Award after posting a 2.72 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. So, what changed?
Giolito credits his transformation to three things: better command, improved pitch selection, and increased confidence.
Giolito’s biggest issue early in his career was his lack of command. He would often miss his spot by a wide margin, resulting in a lot of walks and home runs. But Giolito made a concerted effort to improve his command, and it paid off. In 2019, his walk rate improved from 4.3% to 2.7%, and his home run rate dropped from 1.8% to 1.1%. He continued to show better command in 2020, posting a career-best 2.5% walk rate.
improved pitch selection
Giolito also made some adjustments to his pitch selection. Early in his career, he relied too heavily on his fastball, throwing it over 60% of the time. But Giolito began to mix in his secondary pitches more, and it made a big difference. In 2019, he threw his fastball just 52.4% of the time, and he increased that to 54.5% in 2020. His slider became his go-to pitch, and he also began to throw his changeup more. The result was more swings and misses and fewer hard-hit balls.
Finally, Giolito gained more confidence as he began to have more success. In his first two seasons, he often looked lost on the mound, and it showed in his results. But Giolito began to believe in himself more, and it showed in his performance. He became more
2. The Road to the Cy Young
As the old saying goes, it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. And in the case of Lucas Giolito, he’s finishing the 2019 season in a way that no one could have predicted.
The former first-round pick and top prospect was once considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. But after a couple of rough years in the majors, many had written him off.
However, Giolito has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, and he’s a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award.
How did he turn things around?
Well, it starts with his fastball.
Giolito’s fastball is one of the best in baseball, and he’s been able to use it to blow hitters away. He’s averaging nearly 97 mph on his fastball this season, and he’s topping out at 100 mph.
But it’s not just the velocity that’s impressive, it’s the movement. Giolito’s fastball has a ton of movement, and it’s been almost impossible for hitters to square it up.
In fact, hitters are batting just .196 against Giolito’s fastball this season, which is the third-lowest mark in baseball.
But Giolito’s fastball isn’t the only pitch that’s been effective. His curveball has been virtually unhittable, and he’s been using it to strike out batters at an alarming rate.
Hitters are batting just .140 against Giolito’s curveball this season, and he’s thrown it for a strike 58.5% of the time. That’s the highest strike rate of any curveball in baseball.
In addition to his fastball and curveball, Giolito has also been throwing a new pitch this season, a cutter. The cutter has been a great complement to his fastball, and it’s helped him keep hitters off balance.
Giolito has been virtually unhittable this season, and he’s been a big reason why the White Sox have been one of the best teams in baseball. He’s been the best pitcher in the American League, and he’s a leading
3. Giolito’s Journey to the Top
In 2015, Lucas Giolito was the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball. He was a first-round pick in the 2012 draft, and he had already rocketed through the minors, reaching Triple-A at the age of 21. He was big and tall with a devastating fastball-curveball combo, and he looked like a future ace.
Then, in 2016, Giolito struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues, posting a 6.75 ERA in 21 starts. He was sent back down to the minors, and his once-bright future seemed in doubt.
But Giolito worked hard to make adjustments, and he came back stronger than ever in 2019. He won the American League Cy Young Award, posting a league-best 2.52 ERA in 33 starts. He was also named an All-Star for the first time.
Giolito’s journey to the top was not easy, but it is a great example of how hard work and dedication can pay off.
4. The keys to Giolito’s Success
It’s been a long time coming, but Lucas Giolito is finally fulfilling the immense potential that made him the number one overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. The big right-hander is in the midst of a breakout season with the Chicago White Sox, and he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Giolito is a big reason why the White Sox are in first place in the AL Central, and he’s a leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award.
Giolito has always had the stuff to be a great pitcher, but he’s put it all together this season. He’s increased his strikeout rate while also cutting down on walks, and he’s been more efficient with his pitches. As a result, Giolito has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in 28 starts. He’s also thrown a career-high 193 innings, and he’s on pace to finish with over 200 innings pitched for the first time in his career.
There are a few key factors that have contributed to Giolito’s success this season. First and foremost, he’s throwing his fastball more often. According to FanGraphs, Giolito has increased his fastball usage from 46.7% in 2018 to 54.4% in 2019. He’s also throwing his fastball harder than ever, as his average fastball velocity has increased from 93.3 mph to 95.1 mph.
The increased usage of his fastball has allowed Giolito to get ahead in the count more often, and it’s also helped him to generate more swings and misses. In turn, this has made Giolito more effective against both right-handed and left-handed hitters.
Giolito has also made some adjustments to his pitch mix. He’s throwing more changeups and fewer curveballs, and he’s using his changeup more often against left-handed hitters. The results have been impressive, as Giolito has held lefties to a .218 batting average this season.
Finally, Giolito has benefited from improved command. He’s been able to locate his pitches better than ever, and he’s been able to pitch to both sides of
5. Giolito’s Cy Young Season
In just his third full season in the big leagues, Lucas Giolito has established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball. The White Sox right-hander was named the American League Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday, becoming the first Chicago pitcher to take home the prestigious honor since Mark Buehrle in 2009.
Giolito finished the 2020 campaign with a 3.48 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings while pitching to a 6-2 record in 12 starts. His 2.16 ERA was the second-lowest in the AL behind only Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians, and his .701 winning percentage was the best among qualified starters. In a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Giolito was one of the most consistent and dominant pitchers in baseball.
While Giolito’s Cy Young win is certainly impressive, it’s even more impressive when you consider how far he’s come in such a short time. Just three years ago, Giolito was considered one of the biggest busts in baseball. After being drafted first overall by the Washington Nationals in 2012, Giolito struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues, posting a horrific 6.75 ERA in 21 starts. He was eventually demoted back to the minors, and his future in the game was very much in doubt.
Giolito was traded to the White Sox in 2016 in a deal that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals. It was a low-risk, high-reward move for Chicago, and it has paid off in a big way. Giolito rebounded nicely in the minors, and he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball since arriving in the Windy City.
In 2018, Giolito broke out in a big way, posting a 3.41 ERA and 1.13 WHIP while striking out 173 batters in 196.1 innings. He finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting that year, and he followed that up with an even better 2019 campaign, posting a 3.28 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while striking out 228 batters in 214.1 innings. Giolito