The White Sox had a number of key players in the team’s young core show positive growth in 2019.
Despite heading toward what looks like another 90-plus loss season, the strides Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito made this season revitalized hope for the future of the White Sox.
In an early review of the White Sox season, FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski compared preseason projections to the nearly-finished product.
Giolito’s season, which ended two weeks early due to a lat strain, featured an All-Star Game appearance and improvement across the board. Giolito finished with a 3.41 ERA with 228 strikeouts and 57 walks in 176 2/3 innings.
That level of performance wasn’t considered in the realm of possibility by Szymborski’s own ZiPS (sZymborski Projection System), which predicts future production based on stats. Szymborski calls Giolito’s 2019 projection among the worst in the system’s history.
“ZiPS was a ginormous digital fan of Giolito as a prospect, but fell completely out of love in 2018, turned off as you would be if your dining companion on a first date mostly wanting to describe the details of their colonoscopy,” he wrote. “A Cy Young-level season from Giolito was past the 99th percentile; it was closer to the 99.9th percentile.”
A deeper dive into his numbers show no reason for regression either. Updated ZiPS projections for the next four years show the system has bought back into Giolito.
As the White Sox hope to take a next step forward in the team’s rebuild in 2020, most of the talk is about the team’s young players adding quality to the team and continuing to improve. For example, Eloy Jimenez is on track for a 30-home run rookie season, but still hasn’t consistently shown the all-around hitter most expect him to be. However, one big thing that can’t be taken for granted is players like Giolito, Anderson and Moncada at least maintaining their impressive 2019 seasons. At least there is reason for optimism that Giolito’s 2019 is no fluke.
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