"In 2019, his age-24 season, Lucas Giolito is likely going to make the All-Star team and could even receive Cy Young votes." That wouldn't have been a particularly surprising statement back in 2012, when the Nationals made him the 16th overall pick in the Draft, two slots ahead of Corey Seager.
It would still have been believable in early 2016, when he was considered the third-best prospect -- and best pitching prospect -- in baseball at MLB Pipeline. It would still have applied in December 2016, when he was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Adam Eaton from Chicago to Washington.
It would have been a little more surprising in 2017, when he put up a 4.48 ERA in Triple-A and struggled to miss bats in a few starts in the Majors. It would have been downright stunning in 2018, amid questions about his declining velocity and a stat line that legitimately made him one of the worst regular starters in baseball.
In 2019? Giolito has a 2.54 ERA, seventh-best among qualified starters. He's got some of the largest yearly jumps in strikeout rate and velocity. He's become the ace the White Sox had long hoped he would be, and it doesn't seem like a mirage. How does this even happen?