Lucas Giolito is more of a rebound option, but still one of the better names that will be a free agent. Giolito was a quality pitcher from 2019 through 2021, however he struggled in 2022. Giolito looked like he was on the path of rebound going into the 2023 all-star break, however after getting traded, he had some horrible starts, both with the LA Angels and Cleveland Guardians.
At the time the Chicago White Sox traded Gioltio, he owned a 3.79 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP. While Giolito struck out over a quarter of the opponents he faced with a 25.8% K-rate and carried a respectable 8.3% walk rate, he had a 1.49 HR/9 rate. Giolito was then traded to the Angels, where struggled mightily down the stretch.
In the final 63.1 innings of the right-hander’s season, Giolito got rocked for a 6.96 ERA, 6.87 FIP, and 1.48 WHIP. While he still carried about the same K% at 25.4%, his walk rate shot up to 10.8%. However, the most worrying aspect was his 2.98 HR/9. However, despite allowing about three home runs per nine innings, there were some positives.
His opponent exit velocity dropped to 88.8 MPH, which is about league average. His home run to flyball ratio was 26.3%. That’s unsustainable in every way you spin it. No pitcher has ever had an HR/FB ratio over 23% in 120+ innings pitched in one season. This would all but certainly normalize over the course of a full year.
There were some other positives to note about Giolito’s season. After siting 93 MPH with the White Sox pre-trade deadline, he saw his fastball velo tick back up to his career average of 93.5 MPH. Gioltio’s swinging strike rate also went from 11.9% with the Sox to 12.8% with the Angels and Guardians.
While Giolito is a rebound candidate, he’s a pretty good bet to find his groove again. I wouldn’t be surprised if he contended for comeback player of the year next season. He’s more of a risk than Nola, but will cost less, and you could still be getting a quality pitcher.