Five MLB pitchers who have taken a step backward in 2018

Five MLB pitchers who have taken a step backward in 2018

Chin Music Baseball

Five MLB pitchers who have taken a step backward in 2018

Baseball is a wonderful game, but it also knows exactly how to humble just about every ballplayer at one time or another. That instance may be a singular moment in a game or span a number of games, but it always happens.

The following five pitchers all encountered certain levels of success in 2017 — whether it was overall or in particular situations. Some were more pronounced than others, but they now all have one thing in common — they’ve struggled in 2018.

Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox

Although Lucas Giolito’s first taste of big league action with the Chicago White Sox went well in 2017, his stats showed he was ripe for regression. And, boy, did regression ever hit.

The young right-hander posted a 2.38 ERA in 45.1 frames last season, but it was accompanied by a 4.49 SIERA. He didn’t strike out a ton of guys (19.0% rate), but cut down his walk rate to 6.7%, which was good. The unsustainable stats fell in other categories, like BABIP (.189) and strand rate (92.0%).

While Giolito’s homers allowed per nine innings rate is on pace to improve for the third consecutive year, nothing else has gone right. He’s posted a 5.76 ERA to go along with a 5.31 SIERA, 16.6% strikeout rate, 11.5% walk rate, .260 BABIP allowed, and a 66.0% strand rate in 159.1 innings.

He currently has the worst ERA and fWAR (-0.1) among qualified starters, and has once again struggled to throw first-pitch strikes (55.5% in ’16, 62.0% in ’17, 55.5% in ’18).

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