Waiting for it to click, Giolito trusting process

White Sox prospect finding signs of progress beyond results

Waiting for it to click, Giolito trusting process

INDIANAPOLIS -- In order to put his search for consistency and repeatable mechanics into context, Triple-A Charlotte right-hander Lucas Giolito related a story from his high school pitching days following a 5-3 loss at Victory Field on Monday night.

"My sophomore year of high school, I didn't really know where the ball was going," said Giolito after allowing four earned runs over five innings while walking four and fanning three. "I walked a lot of guys, and there was one game where it just clicked. And from then on -- sophomore, junior, senior year of high school -- I shot up the rankings, and the talent started to show.

"I'm working as hard as I can to put it all together and hopefully have that one game where it clicks and it's like, 'Oh, I'm back and I'm good to go.' If not, I can continue to work on it and feel incremental changes and put those together."

Giolito, the No. 8 prospect overall per MLBPipeline.com and No. 1 among pitchers, slipped to an 0-5 record. He has walked 18 and allowed 32 hits over 28 1/3 innings -- numbers not close to being commensurate with his ability.

Fastball command rates as Giolito's biggest target, something absent against the Indians after the second inning, when the 6-foot-6 hurler relied more on sliders and changeups. He's having the most trouble commanding the pitch outside to a righty, being able to reach out there without leaving the ball up.

Even in the face of these disappointing statistics, all Giolito can do is work hard on a daily basis with pitching coach Steve McCatty to refine the mechanics.

"Yeah, I wasn't expecting to start the year like this. I mean, the numbers are atrocious," Giolito said. "It frustrated me, definitely a lot earlier in the year, like, 'Why aren't I figuring it out?' Now it's just, all I can do is trust the work I'm putting in and hopefully put it together soon.

"[The mechanics] will feel better for four-ish innings, and then the fifth inning, I got a little out of whack. I wasn't able to make adjustments. That's the thing that good pitchers are able to do: they can make adjustments after one pitch, not after a whole inning. That's what I'm really trying to do, to be like, 'Oh, I did something on that pitch. Let me make an adjustment now.'"

McCatty preaches positives to Giolito, who is only 22. Instead of focusing on his fastball struggles in a given start, as an example, look at the strong steps taken with the curve and the change.

"So you've got one negative out of there, and I see two positives, maybe three," McCatty said. "You're always trying to improve on your weaknesses and make your strengths better, but you just can't go out and say, 'Man, I sucked because I didn't get through five innings.' He's made progress in a lot of areas. It's a growing thing. And he's got to know what he is first. He's not even close to being the finished product that he's going to be."

"It's at a point where all I can do is keep working, trust the process," Giolito said. "I'm putting the work in every day on the side to correct the issues and be a better pitcher."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.