Washington Nationals: Lucas Giolito’s Report Card
After a brief look at Washington Nationals hot prospect Lucas Giolito in 2016, how does he stack up? Well, the future is bright.
There are times this year that Washington Nationals pitcher Lucas Giolito must have felt dazed in confused. Between April and September, the highly ranked prospect pitched anywhere from A-ball to the big club.
Although not ready for a permanent stay in the Majors, Giolito is close to making the jump. He started four games for the Nats in the wake of injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross. Dropping his only decision, he did not light the world on fire. In six total games, he threw 21.1 innings with an ERA of 7.59.
Dusty Baker must have felt he was not ready either as Giolito pitched twice out of the bullpen after the September roster expansion out of the bullpen. He was not on the playoff roster for the National League Divisional Series. Considering how nervous Ross was in his start that is a good thing.
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Between his four teams in 2016, Giolito pitched a career-high 136.2 innings in 28 games. Although the average 21-year-old is still toiling in full-season A-ball, he handled opposing hitters with confidence in Triple-A Syracuse. With seven starts for the Chiefs, he posted a WHIP of 1.098 and an ERA of 2.17 in 37.1 frames.
Going into 2017, he is a “Four-A” pitcher. Good enough to excel for Syracuse, but his stuff is not there to grab a spot in the Washington Nationals rotation. How he handles Spring Training, fighting for a spot with Reynaldo Lopez and A.J. Cole will dictate where Giolito goes when camp breaks Florida.
In his lone start where he threw a full 100 pitches, he lost. Against the Colorado Rockies at home on August 28, Giolito lasted five innings, scattering six hits, four runs and two walks. Two of those hits left the yard although allowing dingers to David Dahl and Nolan Arenado are no reasons to hang your head in shame.
The high point came on his first Major League start, four innings of shutout ball on June 28 against the New York Mets. With a limited pitch count, he walked two and a single hit while fanning one. A week later, the Mets shelled him at Citi Field.
If we were to grade only his performance with the Nationals, it would be an “F.” He had the chance to establish himself on an injury-plagued rotation and could not hold on. The complete picture tells a better story. Career-highs achieved in innings and enough command to warrant three promotions in a single season.
That is a winning season in our eyes.