Getting to Know Lucas Giolito
Tuesday night at Nationals Park, Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito – arguably the best pitching prospect in the game – will make his Major League debut vs. the New York Mets. During Spring Training, his first in Major League camp with the Nationals, Giolito answered a few questions about the upcoming season. The following is a transcript of his answers to six of those questions:
What are your goals heading into the season?
I’m just here to take it all in. It’s my first big league camp — I’m not coming into it with expectations of making the team or anything like that. It’s all about the experience. I want to be able to pick the brains of these awesome coaches and these decorated players who have been playing in the big leagues for a long time. Just try to take it all in and learn from the best.
What do you want to learn from the other members of the pitching staff?
As a rookie, I don’t want to come in there and talk too much and annoy anybody, obviously. Hopefully I can hang around, hear little bits of wisdom or knowledge, and try to put that into my game.
After seeing Joe Ross jump from Double-A to the Major League rotation last year, does that give you any added confidence?
Joe’s a really good player. He was in Harrisburg not too long before I got there last year, so I know that jump is possible. And if I were to start in Harrisburg this year it would be great if I put up some good numbers, pitched well and got an opportunity later in the year.
Did you pick up any big differences between Single-A and Double-A last season?
Hitters are more disciplined — that’s probably the biggest thing I noticed. They’re not only disciplined with balls out of the strike zone, but they pick a certain pitch in the zone that they want to hit. So, as long as you can stay away from those spots, pitching at the higher level can actually become a little bit easier — but it requires really good pinpoint control, which I’m still trying to develop.
What is your current pitch repertoire?
I’ve got my four-seam fastball and my two-seam fastball, which I’m trying to introduce this year. I’m excited about that pitch and I’ve been tinkering with it here and there. The change-up has been developing a lot and my curveball as well. I just want to be able to throw all of those pitches for strikes at any time in the count. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable doing that with the change-up and curveball, and I want to command the fastball low and away, low and in and even up at times as well.
How was the process of recovering from Tommy John surgery with the Nationals organization?
After being hurt in high school and getting drafted in the first round despite that, it was a tough decision whether to go to college or to sign. But I feel like I made an excellent choice signing back in 2012. The rehab process from Tommy John with the Nationals was perfect — I had no issues throughout the whole process. It’s awesome that I’m fully healthy.