Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox
What a difference a year makes, right? Just 12 months ago, Giolito was finishing up a terrible campaign. So terrible, in fact, that his 6.13 ERA was easily the worst among qualified starters. His 5.37 SIERA was also the worst in this group.
But, fast-forward to 2019 and he’s appeared in his first All-Star Game while enjoying a true breakout performance. The differences between this season and last season are so striking that it’s better to put a handful of the stats side by side.
So what clicked for the former top prospect? The biggest difference in his game has been the usage and success of his changeup. After tossing it at a 15.9% clip in 2018, that number has climbed all the way up to 26.1% in 2019. His 2.00 changeup value on a per-100-pitch basis is also among the best in baseball.
Opposing hitters have only experienced a slight decrease in wRC+ when compared to last year (86 to 77), but that also includes a dramatic increase in strikeout rate (23.1% to 33.8%). A sizable rise in swinging-strike rate (16.7% to 22.2%) and chase rate (31.5% to 37.0%) also took place.