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Prospect profile: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals

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Rob takes a look at number one pitching prospect Lucas Giolito.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Giolito, Nationals

Giolito is from Santa Monica, California and attended Harvard-Westlake high school. He had shoulder surgery that limited his draft stock his senior season. He still ended up getting $2,925,000 and has really performed above and beyond the Nationals investment. Giolito has a fastball that can reach 100 mph, a wipeout curveball and a promising changeup this three pitch mix is one of the most developed in the minors.

The Nationals took it easy on Giolito earlier on only having only 12 starts and 42 innings on his arm after high school. In 2013, he split time between rookie ball and short season ball totaling 11 games while totaling 39 strikeouts and 14 walks. His earned run average is 1.96 and his FIP was under three through both levels.

Once 2013 came to a close we knew Giolito was up for a promotion in 2014. In his first extended action he spent the entire year at Class A Hargerstown starting 20 games. He registered 98 innings a jump from 36 innings the year before. He had an excellent WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) is a sabermetric measurement of the number of baserunners a pitchers has allowed per inning pitched. He gave up 70 hits and 28 walks while striking out 110 batters while limiting batters to a .197 average. He really put it all together showing control and command of all of his pitches while dominating opponents.

In 2015, he went to High A Harrisburg and Double A Potomac he pitched 21 games and 19 starts. He had a 2.71 earned run average at Harrisburg while having 86 strikeouts to 20 walks good enough for a 4+ K/BB ratio. The batting average and WHIP went up but I put that towards adjusting to a new league. His stats increased a bit in Double A as he gave up 48 hits in 47.1 innings. He lost a bit of his control as his K/BB ratio still was above average at around two but could have been better.

In his minor league career he has went 19-10 with a 2.63 earned run average in 51 starts with 281 strikeouts to 79 walks in 253.2 innings. In this breakdown below of him by Fangraphs.com they have extremely high marks for Giolito as recent as January of last year.

Reported: 1/16/2015  Risk: 3  ETA: 2017  Team Rank: NA  Positional Rank: NA  Overall Rank: NA

Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Future Value
65 / 70 60 / 70 45 / 55 45 / 50+ 65

Giolito has earned an invite to Spring Training which he'll be able to showcase his skills to the Nationals brass. In 2016, I see Giolito starting off at Double A Potomac continuing his progression and then getting the call-up to Triple A around mid-season. He'll finish out the year there and be in the mix for the 2017 Nationals rotation.