Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Lucas Giolito may have had some extra motivation Thursday. Through his first eight starts, the 22-year-old had an ugly 6.41 ERA. Turns out, all the Charlotte Knights’ pitcher needed was a little revenge to get him back on the right track.
Giolito took on his former Triple-A squad Thursday, and unleashed the fury of a spurned ex, tossing a no-hitter over seven innings against the Syracuse Chiefs.
— Charlotte Knights (@KnightsBaseball) May 26, 2017
The game was part of a minor-league doubleheader, which is why it ended after seven innings. By rule, it’s still considered a no-hitter.
The Chiefs, you may recall, are a minor-league affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the club that traded away Giolito during the offseason.
Up until Thursday, the Nationals looked wise to make the move. Giolito’s prospect stock has taken a hit over the past couple months. He ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect according to Baseball America prior to the 2016 season, but dropped to No. 25 after experiencing some hiccups. His struggles this year knocked him down to No. 40 on the site’s May update.
The White Sox have tried to do everything possible to get Giolito back on track. The team overhauled his mechanics in the offseason, with a focus on Giolito getting his fastball back on track. That remains a work in progress. Throughout Giolito’s rough patch, the White Sox have stressed the importance of his fastball command.
While things improved during Thursday’s start, Giolito did issue three walks. Through 46 1/3 innings, Giolito has walked 25 batters. He walked just 44 over 115 1/3 total innings last season.
Giolito headlined the White Sox’s return for All-Star outfielder Adam Eaton. Though he was the biggest name the team received for Eaton, Giolito has been overshadowed by another member of the deal.
Reynaldo Lopez, 23, has posted a 2.94 ERA over nine starts with Charlotte. Dane Dunning, the third player in the deal, has a 5.79 ERA over four starts at Class A. Eaton was off strong start with the Nationals before tearing his ACL.
With the White Sox off to a poor start, there’s no pressure to promote Giolito any time soon. That’s probably for the best. The White Sox need to make sure Giolito is fixed before they let him have another shot at the majors. Thursday marked the first positive step he’s taken in that direction in quite some time.
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