With the 16th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Nationals have selected Lucas Giolito, RHP out of Harvard-Westlake High School in CA.
Before the draft, Giolito was widely considered to be in contention to be the first overall pick. However, he sprained his UCL in the spring and has not pitched since. The injury hurt his draft stock, as many teams were scared of a player who injured the ligament famous for requiring Tommy John surgery. Physically, Giolito has an ideal pitcher’s frame, at 6′ 6″ and 240 pounds, and touched 100 mph with his fastball before the injury.
With this pick, the Nationals continued a trend of taking chances on falling injured players. Last year, they took Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke, both of whom were projected to be high first-round picks before suffering injuries. This year, however, the Nationals face the added wrinkle of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement which places severe limits on draft spending. The team spent a historic amount of money on their top four picks last year, a common theme with players who fall due to injury. With the new CBA, teams are given a recommended amount of money that they can pay their top 10 picks, based on the slot value of the picks they own. If they exceed this amount, then they are subject to penalties, up to and including the loss of future draft picks, depending on the amount by which the limit is exceeded. The Nationals are allotted $4.4 million dollars for their top 10 picks, and it will be interesting to see if they draft players in the 2nd round and on who will be willing to sign below their recommended slot amounts in order to give as much money as possible to Giolito.