Giolito loved what he saw from his changeup last year so threw it 265 more times in 2019. A nice 11.8% bump in K% to 34.1% and solid 22.2 SwStr% is most encouraging. He also induced hitters into pop ups with a 39.5% IFFB%. Look for Giolito to massage this into a Money Pitch in 2020.
Giolito faded the use of his curveball down the stretch, throwing the pitch just .37% and .69% of the time in August and September, respectively, after throwing the pitch over 10% of the time in April. As the pitch allowed a .419 wOBA, I’d expect the fade to continue.
What a turn-around out of Giolito’s fastball. The pitch earned a 20.5 pVAL after earning -13.5 pVAL in 2018. The pitch more than doubled in SwStr% and IFFB%, and increased his K-BB% from -6.9% to 21.9%.
We didn’t quite see the increase in usage we predicted last year for Giolito’s slider. It is still a plus pitch and commanded a 42% Whiff% last season. That late bite just wasn’t quite sharp enough. If he can get it right, Giolito will turn this into an elite pitch.
Giolito’s fastball has some arm-side action and held opponents to a .265 average (.266 BABIP) in 2018, but leaves a bit to be desired. He walked (66) more hitters than he struck out (43) by a significant margin. He also gave up 31 extra-base hits with his fastball, 14 being home runs.
As much as opposing hitters see Giolito’s sinker fairly well, he generally has pretty good control of it, only walking hitters on it seven times versus 16 strikeouts. With 2018 being his first full year at the big league level, Giolito now has an understanding of when this pitch is best served. Hopefully, for his sake, he can put that into practice right away.
Though it’s not quite as effective as his slider, Giolito has a pretty good changeup on his hands. Considering it generates swing-and-misses at a decent rate and offers a good alternative to his slider—which is naturally more stressful on his arm—it’s a wonder the righty doesn’t dump his curve and just roll with his changeup and slider to work off his fastball combo. He might more success if he did.
The slider is Giolito’s bread and butter. Late bite with significant movement makes this a very difficult pitch to hit, let alone hit solidly. Out of the 454 times he threw it, he only gave up 21 hits, 11 for extra bases, three leaving the yard altogether. At the same time, he punched 31 hitters out with it and only walked four. Giolito knows precisely how to use this bad boy to its fullest. If nothing else, he’ll throw it more in his sophomore campaign
Giolito’s sweeping hook sure moves a ton. That’s about it though. Hitters don’t miss it much and find plenty of success when they put it in play. Considering his other pitches could use some work, too, it might be in his best interest to invest more time with those rather than what’s been his fifth pitch