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The Rockies should pursue Lucas Giolito

Colorado Rockies news and links for Thursday, August 31st, 2023

On Tuesday afternoon the Los Angeles Angels surprised fans by officially punting on their 2023 campaign. The Angels made at least five players—several of whom were obtained at the deadline this season—available to waiver claims in what ESPN’s Jeff Passan labeled a “salary dump.” Teams that claim any of these players will pay their remaining salaries for the season.

Due to their unfortunate record, the Colorado Rockies currently own the third spot for waiver claims on Thursday. The Rockies will—and should—pass over most of the players the Angels are making available, such as old flame Randal Grichuk. However, one name sticks out as someone the Rockies should take a flyer on: right handed starting pitcher Lucas Giolito.

It’s no secret that Giolito has not enjoyed his time in Anaheim. In six starts with his new team he’s posted a 6.89 ERA with opposing batters slashing .258/.345/.563 against him. He’s also given up ten home runs during that span and seen his BB/9 and H/9 spike. In comparison, opposing batters slashed .232/.304/.430 against Giolito in 21 starts with the Chicago White Sox prior to being traded and posted a 3.79 ERA over 121 innings of work.

Giolito also underperformed in 2022 with a 4.90 ERA in 161 23 innings, but he had legitimately been seeing a return to form in 2023 before the Angels acquired him. He’s only four seasons removed from an All-Star 2019 campaign and just one season removed from three consecutive seasons in which he earned votes for the American League Cy Young Award. Although he struggled in his rookie 2016 season with the Washington Nationals and again in 2018 with the White Sox, his 2022 season and brief stint as Shohei Ohtani’s teammate appear to be outliers in an otherwise solid career.

Lucas Giolito Career Standard Pitching

2016 0 1 6.75 6 4 21.1 26 18 16 7 12 11 64 8.21 1.781 11.0 3.0 5.1 4.6
2017 3 3 2.38 7 7 45.1 31 14 12 8 12 34 181 4.94 0.949 6.2 1.6 2.4 6.8
2018 10 13 6.13 32 32 173.1 166 123 118 27 90 125 69 5.56 1.477 8.6 1.4 4.7 6.5
2019 14 9 3.41 29 29 176.2 131 69 67 24 57 228 134 3.43 1.064 6.7 1.2 2.9 11.6
2020 4 3 3.48 12 12 72.1 47 31 28 8 28 97 128 3.19 1.037 5.8 1.0 3.5 12.1
2021 11 9 3.53 31 31 178.2 145 74 70 27 52 201 124 3.79 1.103 7.3 1.4 2.6 10.1
2022 11 9 4.90 30 30 161.2 171 92 88 24 61 177 81 4.06 1.435 9.5 1.3 3.4 9.9
2023 (Total) 7 11 4.45 27 27 153.2 139 83 76 30 57 165 100 4.95 1.575 8.1 1.8 3.3 9.7
2023 (CHW) 6 6 3.79 21 21 121.0 106 55 51 20 42 131 117 4.44 1.223 7.9 1.5 3.1 9.7
2023 (LAA) 1 5 6.89 6 6 32.2 33 28 25 10 15 34 66 6.82 1.469 9.1 2.8 4.1 9.4

A few things are standing out under the hood for Giolito. His hard hit rate and exit velocity are the highest they’ve been since his rookie season and he’s also getting fewer batters to chase. What stands out the most is a sharp drop in spin rate on his four seam fastball, his primary pitch. Per MLB’s Statcast, Giolito’s four seamer has lost roughly 200 RPM of spin since his last truly good season in 2021. His curveball is also getting crushed practically ever time he throws it.

Fortunately for Giolito, those are all potentially solvable problems, especially when he only just turned 29 years old. The pitcher who got Cy Young votes might still be in there somewhere, but even if it isn’t Giolito could still be a serviceable starter.

That’s wear the Rockies come in. With the third pick for waivers on Thursday afternoon the Rockies essentially have their choice on who to bring in. They have an easy pick for who to jettison from the 40-man roster in Harold Castro, and don’t have to worry too much about the active roster spot with teams expanding to 28 players on Friday. He also fills a critical need for the Rockies in pitching depth.

The Rockies’ utter lack of starting pitcher depth has never been more stark than it has been this season. Austin Gomber, the rotation’s iron man this season, is experiencing back pain that might cause him to miss his next start. Ryan Feltner is starting a rehab assignment with the High-A Spokane Indians after his head injury, but there’s no real reason to rush him back with a losing season already cemented and the 100 loss mark drawing ever closer. With no immediate reinforcements available in Triple-A Albuquerque as the Rockies stumble to the finish line, why not take a flyer on a starting pitcher with a history of success and a low price tag?

The Rockies should consider adding Lucas Giolito to the fold come Thursday afternoon. If it doesn’t work out, he’s a free agent in a few weeks. If it does, they could potentially bring him back for 2024. The Rockies need pitching, and that need isn’t going to vanish any time soon.

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Each team’s hottest-hitting prospect over the past month |

As the month of August draws to a merciful close, Jonathan Mayo and Sam Dykstra look at the best hitting prospects for each MLB club. Unsurprisingly the Rockies’ top hitting prospect in August was the newly minted major leaguer in Hunter Goodman. Goodman hit 356/.402/.800 over the last month with 72 total bases and ten home runs.

Former Rockies outfielder shines tonight after being placed on waiver wire | Rox Pile

Much like Lucas Giolito, former Rockies outfielder Randal Grichuk has not enjoyed his time with the Los Angeles Angels. Over the first 26 games with his new club, Grichuk hit just .140/.190/.280 before being placed on waivers. On Tuesday night he celebrated potentially leaving town by going 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles.

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On the Farm

Triple-A: Sacremento River Cats 6, Albuquerque Isotopes 2

Offensively the Isotopes failed to launch as they went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and struck out 13 times. Coco Montes was the only ‘Topes batter to have more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. On the bump the Isotopes walked a total of eight batters while giving up six runs to the River Cats. Five of those six runs came from the bullpen off pitches from Justin Bruihl and Chance Adams. Tyler Kinley pitched an inning of relief during his rehab assignment, walking two batters and striking out two.

Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Hartford Yard Goats 4

The Yard Goats also struggled with runners in scoring position, going just 1-for-6. They plated just four runs despite having ten hits as a team. Grant Lavigne enjoyed a 3 RBI night in which he had both a double and a home run while going 2-for-4. Jordan Beck had a double of his own while Yanquiel Fernandez went 2-for-4 as well. Starting pitcher Mike Ruff gave up three earned runs in four innings of work while Alec Barger and Finn Del Bonta-Smith both gave up runs of their own in relief.

High-A: Everett Aqua Sox 6, Spokane Indians 4

Robby Martin Jr. was the offensive MVP for the Indians on a night with limited success at the plate. Martin Jr. went 2-for-4 with a double and plated two of the Indians’ four runs on the night. Jean Perez also went 2-for-4 though without any RsBI. Starting pitcher Blake Adams worked just three innings and gave up three earned runs, all three of which were home runs. Reliever Tyler Ahearn continued his excellent August with a shutout inning. He has made eight appearances in August and only given up one earned run.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 4, Visalia Rawhide 1

To say that catcher Kody Huff was literally half of the Grizzlies’ offense is not an understatement. Huff hit four of the Grizzlies’ eight hits and drove in two of their four runs while going 4-for-4 with a double on the night. 2023 draft picks with repeating consonant names Kyle Karros and Cole Carrigg contributed the other two RBIs. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies’ pitching group were strikeout machines. Michael Prosecky struck out seven in his six complete innings of one-run ball. Sean Sullivan made his Low-A debut by pitching two shutout innings and striking out all six batters he faced, while closer Zach Agnos picked up his MiLB-leading 25th save of the season with two strikeouts of his own.

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