Washington Nationals Minor Leagues: Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez Win Pitcher Of The Week Awards

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When you talk about the Washington Nationals farm system, the strength of the organization is definitely the pitching. According to MLB Pipeline, six of the top 11 prospects for the Nats are all pitchers. Today, two of the Nats’ top four prospects were honored for their achievements this week.

Harrisburg Senators’ right-hander Lucas Giolito and Potomac Nationals’ right-hander Reynaldo Lopez were awarded pitcher of the week in the Eastern League (double-A) and the Carolina League (high-A) respectively. Giolito is rated as the top prospect in the organization while Lopez is rated fourth in the Nats’ system.

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First, let’s talk about Giolito. The 21-year-old made one start on Friday night against the Bowie Bay Sox (Baltimore Orioles). In that game, Giolito went seven innings, gave up no runs on one hits, struck out 11 (tied a career-high) and walked one on 99 pitches (63 strikes) in a win.

Since joining the Harrisburg Senators, Giolito is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in four starts. He has 23 strikeouts in 23.2 innings, but the problem for him has been the walks. Before that last outing, Giolito had 11 walks in three starts. After that outing against Bowie, Giolito told MILB.com about some of the adjustments he is making with the Senators:

"“I’ve actually been working on some mechanical adjustments with my pitching coach, Chris Michalak. My mechanics got a little bit out of a whack a few weeks ago, I wasn’t doing a good job of staying closed. I was falling behind batters. We’ve been working hard on keeping that front side closed.” (h/t MILB.com)"

As for Lopez, the 21-year-old had a great start of his own for the Nats’ high-A affiliate in Potomac. Back on August 12 against the Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox), Lopez went seven innings, gave up no runs on two hits, struck out 11 (a season-high), and did not walk a batter.

In his last two starts, Lopez is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and has 16 strikeouts to one walk over his last 13 innings. These last two games should put him back on track when you consider that he has a 4.00 ERA in nine starts since the Carolina League All-Star Break (2-4 record). After the game, manager Tripp Keister told MILB.com about the work Lopez is putting in:

"“He continues to get better, he continues to work, he’s a special talent and he’s still young on the mound. That’s what I’m most proud of him [for], the way he’s approached the end of the year, he continues to just keep working and getting better.” (h/t MILB.com)"

Both Giolito and Lopez began the season together with Potomac. While they are not with the same teams now, these two Nationals’ prospects definitely have a bright future in the organization. Hopefully, they can end their season on a good note and carry momentum into next season. The current state of the big league club isn’t great to say the least, but it’s good to see the Nats’ top prospects making headlines.

Next: Reaction: Nats Do Not Look Like A Playoff Team

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