CHICAGO -- The revelation that was Lucas Giolito's 2019 campaign earned the White Sox right-hander a sixth-place finish in the 2019 Baseball Writers’ Association of America American League Cy Young Award voting, as announced Wednesday.
Houston’s Justin Verlander edged teammate Gerrit Cole for AL top honors, with Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton finishing third and Cleveland’s Shane Bieber placing fourth. Texas' Lance Lynn also finished ahead of Giolito, who received eight fifth-place votes for eight total points, tied with Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez.
But Giolito, who was selected as a first-time AL All-Star, didn’t need to finish in the top five to validate this season as a great success and establish himself as a 25-year-old rotation building block.
“He's been the one that's been the most impactful, in terms of our rotation,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said late in the 2019 season. “Eating up innings, being efficient, making a huge jump from last year to this year. It would be safe to say, where he stands right now, yeah, he would be the guy that's at the top notch of our rotation.”
Giolito’s story has been told many times at this point.
After a 2018 full-season debut resulting in the highest ERA among starting pitchers in MLB (6.13) and the AL’s highest walk total (90), Giolito basically rebuilt and refocused himself last offseason. He tweaked the motion in his delivery and changed his mindset on the mound, resulting in a 14-9 record with a 3.41 ERA in 29 starts. He hurled three complete games, including shutouts against the AL champion Astros in Houston and the AL Central champion Twins in Minneapolis.
Over 176 2/3 innings, Giolito yielded 131 hits while striking out 228 and walking 57. He produced those impressive numbers despite dealing with a left hamstring injury sustained during a start on April 17 against the Royals, which kept him out of action until May 2. He then missed his final three starts of the season due to a mild lat strain.