As the All-Star break looms closer and closer, I will start looking at prospects on the rise in the Washington Nationals organization and some prospects that could be used as potential trade bait for the franchise in the Nation’s Capital. Today, we are going to look at the rise of the Nationals top prospect, 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito, who is one of those prospects that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Giolito is considered one of, if not the best pitching prospect around the league. The right-hander boasts two plus pitches which are his fastball that tops out around 100 MPH and a curveball that is already Major League ready, according to some scouts. He has a third pitch which is a changeup, but it’s not on the level of his fastball or curveball. However, it has the potential to be a plus pitch down the road.
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Giolito was drafted with the 16th pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. At age 17, he started one game with the Washington Nationals Gulf Coast team, where he didn’t factor in the win. Giolito had to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2012, but still put up respectable numbers pitching between the GCL and New York- Penn League, combining for a 2-1 record in 11 starts with a 1.96 ERA and 39 strikeouts over the course of 36.2 innings.
2014 was Lucas Giolito‘s first full season as a pro and boy did he impress in the South Atlantic League. Giolito started in 20 games, where he went 10-2 in 98 innings pitched with a 2.20 ERA and 110 strikeouts. The right-hander looked strong in almost every start in 2014 and put the league on notice with the season he put together. He is in the Carolina League this year, pitching for Potomac, and he has had no problem with the transition to high-A ball. Giolito has a 3-4 record with a 3.08 ERA and 66 strikeouts. The right-hander threw seven no-hit innings in relief of Aaron Barrett against the Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles) back on July 1.
The Washington Nationals arguably have the best starting pitching rotation one through five in the MLB, and with the addition of Giolito, they’d potentially have a number one or two starter on most teams starting for them every night. They also could be a candidate to go with a six-man rotation and not trade one of their current starters.
As far as when we could see Lucas Giolito in a Washington Nationals jersey, it is not entirely certain as the Nats are taking it slow with the top pitching prospect. I would expect to see Giolito have a cup tea with the Nationals in 2016 and be ready to go full-time in their rotation by 2017. Nevertheless, the future is right for the prospect that is currently number one on MLB Pipeline’s rankings.