I have a predilection for highlighting fantasy baseball rookies that are of the hitter variety, and less so of the pitching type. I will also say I don’t 100% trust anyone that uses the word predilection in everyday conversation. They sound like they have a pedo-lection. Stretch a Home Depot slide ruler out 500 feet and talk to me from there. “What’s that? Having a hard time hearing you. No, don’t come within 500 feet of me. Thanks. Why? Because you used the word predilection.” Pitchers are just so flaky. Last year, Michael Fulmer, with little-to-no fanfare, was a top 30 starter for all of fantasy as a rookie. If you predicted that, you’re a liar or a time traveller. Mean’s while, Giolito had a 6.75 ERA in 21 1/3 IP. How was Corey Kluber in the minors? How was Arrieta? The list goes on with pitchers that weren’t great in the minors that broke out in the majors. Then on the opposite side of things, great pitching prospects who reached the career levels of Nadir Bupkis. In regards to this, there’s actually a well-worn acronym by Baseball Prospectus that is TINSTAAPP, which is There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. So, this is the 2nd year in a row I’ve gone to the Lucas Giolito well, well (stutterer!), he deserves it. Here’s what I said last year, “Before watching the video on Lucas Giolito, I looked at his vitals. This is something I don’t usually do. Doesn’t really matter to me if a guy is six-foot-one or five-ten. But, dizzamn, Giolito is a strapping young man, huh? He’s listed at six-six and 230. He’s only 21 years old, but I think he’s done growing. Hopefully, cause his mom tells CBS Sports that his “feet already hang off the bed.” With a six-six frame, as you can imagine, he throws fast. (Christall Young is the exception that proves the rule, which never made any sense to me. If it’s an exception, how does it prove anything? It proves that there’s exceptions, but that’s about it, right? I’m gonna move on before my brain hurts in my thought-nodes.) Giolito hits 97 MPH on his fastball, which is actually up a tick from the previous year. If he keeps steadily increasing his fastball every year, by the time he’s 40 years old, he’s going to be throwing 117 MPH. He throws from nearly right over the top, so the ball fires downhill and hitters have no chance of hitting it. A 9+ K/9 seems to be a given once he gets settled in the majors. In 20 years, Al Pacino could be playing the role of a Hall of Fame pitcher in the film, Giolito’s Way. Assuming Pacino has eighteen-inch stilettos.” And that’s me quoting me! Anyway, what can we expect from Lucas Giolito for 2017 fantasy baseball?
In 2016 in Double-A, Giolito had a 4.3 BB/9, then a 2.41 BB/9 in Triple-A later last year, then, finally, in the majors his BB/9 was 5.1. When your walk rate can be confused with Altuve’s height, it’s not a good sign. Though, that sequence is slightly misleading. Giolito saw major league action in June, July, August and September. A start here and there, bouncing back and forth. There might be something to Giolito not knowing if he was coming or going. Weird to see a pitcher under Dusty Baker mistreated. Mark Prior just tore his rotator cuff disagreeing with that. Between pitchers being flaky, Dusty Baker, and Giolito’s less than ideal results last year, I’m less bearish on him, and I’m wearing pants so less bare-ish too. The most practical advice I can give is draft zero rookie pitchers before the final three rounds of a draft. There’s just no rhyme or reason which ones do well. Physically, Giolito could easily be a fantasy ace. If he ends up being better than Strasburg, it would not surprise me. As I’ve said many times, Kershaw was not good in his first season either. A lot can happen still with the Nats signing another starter, but I’ll project Giolito for 5-4/3.67/1.27/97 in 105 IP with a June call-up.