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Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: BE CAREFUL TRUSTING LUCAS GIOLITO THE REST OF THE WAY

On the surface, it certainly looks like Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Lucas Giolito is starting to show why he was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft and universally considered one of the very best arms in the minor leagues during his time with the Washington Nationals before being a part of the Adam Eaton deal.  While Giolito dominated in the minors with the Nats, he was hit hard during his 21.1 inning cameo with the team in 2016 where he registered a 6.75 ERA.  That all seems a distant memory now as Giolito threw 6.1 innings of one-run ball on Wednesday versus the Kansas City Royal to lower his White Sox ERA to 2.56 and his WHIP to 0.95.  All numbers worthy of being a former top draft pick.  So while everything looks swell with Giolito on the surface, trouble is brewing underneath which makes him dicey to trust the next few weeks when fantasy baseball leagues are decided.

In digging in a bit deeper on Giolito, what stands out right away is that he has feasted on weak opponents since coming up from the minors.  That certainly has helped Giolito get away quickly with some nice early numbers but he gets the potent Houston Astros next which will really be a test.  In addition to the quality of competition, Giolito is a disaster waiting to happen due to the home run ball.  Right now Giolito has a 1.71 HR/9 rate and when facing an Astros team or any other squad in the DH league, that means trouble.  Combine that with the fact Giolito's .160 BABIP is laughably lucky and the ratios will likely rise quickly going forward.  Finally, Giolito is not really missing bats either as his 7.39 K/9 is just average and so again he will be heading for trouble soon enough.

While we are not saying to dump Giolito, just be prepared when things start to go in the wrong direction soon.  He has been pitching way above his advanced numbers and eventually that comes back to bite everyone.


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