Lucas Giolito

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Lucas Frost Giolito

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Biographical Information[edit]

Lucas Giolito was a first-round pick in the 2012 amateur draft.

Giolito had a 9-1, 1.00 record with 78 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings his junior year of high school. He also spent some time at the Urban Youth Academy. He appeared in the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic in 2012. He did not pitch much that year as he sprained his ulnar collateral nerve in his right elbow. Timed at 100 mph in high school, he was still intriguing enough despite the injury to be picked by the Washington Nationals 16th overall in the 2012 draft. Surprisingly, he was not even the first pitcher taken from his school, as Max Fried went at #7. He signed just before the deadline for a $2.925 million bonus and made his pro debut with the GCL Nationals on August 14th, allowing one run in two innings but reinjured his elbow before he could appear again and underwent Tommy John surgery. He split 2013 between the GCL Nationals and Auburn Doubledays and went 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 11 starts. He had 39 Ks in 36 2/3 innings.

In 2014, he had his first full season as a professional, making 20 starts for the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, during which he went 10-2, 2.20. He struck out 110 in 98 innings, walking only 28. He played in the 2014 Futures Game, but was shut down in mid-August, as the Nationals wanted to limit his innings coming off the surgery, as they had infamously done with ace Stephen Strasburg two seasons earlier. ranked him as the top righthanded pitching prospect in baseball coming into the 2015 season. He split that year between the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League and the Harrisburg Senators of the AA Eastern League. He was a combined 7-7, 3.15 in 21 games, with 131 strikeouts in 117 innings. He returned to the Futures Game that season.

The Nationals announced on June 27, 2016 that Giolito would make his major league debut the next day starting against the New York Mets. They had just placed Strasburg on the disabled list and needed another starter. He had begun the year at Harrisburg, where he was 5-3, 3.17 in 14 starts at the time of his call-up. His debut came on a rainy night that cut his outing to only four innings, but he impressed during that time, allowing no runs on only one hit and a pair of walks. Washington won the game, 5-0, but he had to settle for a no-decision. He made only 6 appearances for the Nats, including 4 starts ending up 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. In addition to his time at Harrisburg, he made 7 starts for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs, going 1-2, 2.17 for a combined minor league line of 6-5, 2.97. On December 8th, he was one of three young pitchers traded by Washington to the Chicago White Sox in return for CF Adam Eaton, the others being Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.

Giolito only made 7 starts for the White Sox in 2017, going 3-3, 2.38 as he continued his apprenticeship in the minors. He was with the AAA Charlotte Knights for most of that season, going 6-10, 4.48 in 24 starts. On May 25th, he pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against the Syracuse Chiefs in the first game of a doubleheader. In 2018, he spent a first full season in the majors with the White Sox, but he found the going rough, even though he won in double figures. He finished with an ERA of 6.13 and 90 walks allowed in 173 1/3 innings. He led the American League in both walks and earned runs allowed (118). His record was 10-13, and on the positive side, he gave up less than a hit per inning (166 in 173 1/3) and struck out 125. He got off on the right foot in 2019 as in his first start of the year on March 31st, he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning before Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals singled with one out. He gave up a couple more hits and 2 runners came in to score before he was taken out, but he still ended up with credit for a 6-3 win. It was a sign of things to come as he took a big step forward. He was the American League Pitcher of the Month in May when he went 5-0, 1.74 in 6 starts. As a reward for his remarkable transformation into a top-notch starter, he was named to the All-Star team. He finished the season at 14-9, 3.41, leading the American League in complete games (3) and shutouts (2). He also struck out 228 batters in 176 2/3 innings and was 6th in the voting for the Cy Young Award.

In 2020, the White Sox finally emerged as a contender for the title in the AL Central, and Lucas was at the center of things as the team's ace. On August 25th, he pitched the first no-hitter in the major leagues that season, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-0, at Guaranteed Rate Field. The game was played without fans present, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He struck out 13 and walked just one batter, Erik Gonzalez, the only baserunner of the evening. SS Tim Anderson helped him with a great stop of a ground ball by Bryan Reynolds, just beating him to first base in the 7th, while RF Adam Engel made a great catch on a line drive by Gonzalez to record the final out of the game. It was the 19th no-hitter in franchise history, and the first since Philip Humber's perfect game in 2012. He went 4-3, 3.48 in 12 starts that season, then won his only start of the postseason, defeating the Oakland Athletics, 4-1, in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series on September 29th. He only gave up 2 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings while striking out 8. He finished second in the MLB's MLB The Show tournament held when there was no baseball being played during the pandemic, losing to Blake Snell.

In 2021, he had another good season, going 11-9, 3.53 in 31 starts for Chicago, while striking out 201 batters in 178 2/3 innings. He returned to the postseason, this time facing the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the Division Series on October 8th. He gave up 4 runs in 4 1/3 innings and was not involved in the decision as Houston won the game, 9-4. The White Sox fell back in the standings in 2022 but he again finished at 11-9, albeit with a much higher ERA than in 2021, at 4.90 in 30 starts. His strikeouts also fell, to 177 in 161 2/3 innings. He pitched well over the first four months of the 2023 season, going 6-6, 3.79 in 21 starts. The White Sox were again out of contention, however, and on July 26th they traded him and fellow veteran pitcher Reynaldo Lopez to the Los Angeles Angels in return for two prospects, P Ky Bush and C Edgar Quero. Things did not go well on the West Coast, however, as the Angels went into a tailspin after making these trading deadline moves, with Lucas going 1-5, 6.85 in 6 starts. As August ended, he was one of six veteran players placed on waivers by the Angels in order to cut costs as they were throwing in the towel, and five of them were picked up by other teams. In Giolito's case, he joined the Cleveland Guardians, but his first start against the Minnesota Twins on September 4th was a disaster, as he gave up 9 runs in 3 innings in a 20-6 lopsided loss. In fact, things were so bad that utility player David Fry had to pitch four innings to finish the game! In a statistical side note, Giolito was the first pitcher to give up at least eight runs in a game for three different teams in the same season since Bill Magee in 1899. He finished the year with a combined record of 8-15, 4.88 in 33 games, all starts, and 184 1/3 innings. The 41 homers he allowed were the most in the American League. He became a free agent after the season.

On December 29, 2023, it was announced that he had signed a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox for $38.5 million. However, he experienced elbow discomfort during spring training before the 2024 season, and had to undergo surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament in March, and was expected to miss the entire season as a result.


Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (2019)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (2019)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (2019)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 3 (2019, 2021 & 2023)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mandy Bell: "Giolito's rocky Guards debut sets stage for utility man's 4 (!) relief innings: David Fry throws 64 pitches to help preserve Cleveland's bullpen",, September 4, 2023. [1]
  • Ian Browne and Henry Palattella: "Giolito agrees to 2-year deal with Red Sox",, December 30, 2023. [2]
  • Ian Browne: "Giolito has UCL surgery, expected to miss '24 season",, March 13, 2024. [3]
  • Jay Cohen (Associated Press): "Slimmed-down Giolito looking for big season for White Sox", Yahoo! News, February 18, 2023. [4]
  • Brent Maguire: "Can this free-agent starter reinvent himself -- again?",, December 18, 2023. [5]
  • Scott Merkin: "Giolito excited to join White Sox talent haul: Top-ranked pitching prospect acquired in 4-player trade with Nationals",, December 9, 2016. [6]
  • Scott Merkin: "Giolito's stance: 'I can no longer sit idly by'",, June 6, 2020. [7]
  • Scott Merkin: "Giolito ready to lead White Sox staff in 2020: Right-hander tosses first simulated game at Summer Camp",, July 8, 2020. [8]
  • Scott Merkin: "No-no for Giolito! White Sox ace quiets Bucs",, August 26, 2020. [9]
  • Bob Nightengale: "After rough debut, Lucas Giolito aims for a better second act with White Sox", USA Today Sports, February 19, 2017. [10]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Lucas Giolito wrote baseball's 2020 Hollywood script with the season's first no-hitter", USA Today, August 26, 2020. [11]
  • Bob Nightengale (USA Today): "Angels put Shohei Ohtani trade rumors to rest with big-time deal for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez", Yahoo! Sports, July 27, 2023. [12]
  • Mike Petriello: "How Lucas Giolito lived up to his potential: Blossoming White Sox righty boasts fourth-best ERA in American League",, June 7, 2019. [13]

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