Results tagged ‘ Lucas Giolito ’
Earlier today, Baseball America unveiled its annual Top 10 Prospect List for the Washington Nationals heading into the 2013 season. There has been a lot of movement since last season, with only four of last year’s prospects returning to the list. The reason for this is two-fold: some names, like Bryce Harper and Steve Lombardozzi, have become fixtures at the Major League level, while others have been traded in deals for the likes of Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span, making the Nationals imminently more competitive in the present. In both senses, the farm system has done its job. But that hardly means it is now bereft of top-level talent.
The complete list, along with more information on each player, is listed below. We have already covered a good number of the prospects in our Down on the Farm reports this past season, and will pick up the rest during the 2013 campaign.
1. Anthony Rendon – INF | Last Year: 2
Considered by many to be the top bat in the 2011 Draft, the Nats snagged Rendon with the sixth overall pick. After dealing with an early-season injury, the Rice University product rebounded for a strong season, moving quickly through the system and finishing in the Arizona Fall League.
2. Lucas Giolito – RHP | Last Year: N/A
Taken with the 16th overall selection, the Nationals went for upside with Giolito, who showcased some of the best raw talent of any hurler in his draft class. Though he missed the end of his senior year of high school with an injury and has since had offseason surgery, Mike Rizzo and company are very high on the young pitcher, as are industry insiders like ESPN’s Keith Law and MLB Network’s Peter Gammons.
3. Brian Goodwin – OF | Last Year: 5
Another fast riser through the system, Goodwin crushed the South Atlantic League in the first half of his inaugural pro campaign to earn a two-level promotion to Double-A Harrisburg. He joined Rendon in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game, where he homered as part of a 2-for-5 performance.
4. Matt Skole – INF | Last Year: 21
Skole opened eyes in his first full professional season. The Georgia Tech product clobbered 27 home runs in just 101 games at Low-A Hagerstown to earn South Atlantic League player of the year, even with a late-season promotion to Potomac. He showed tremendous patience, batting a combined .291/.426/.559, collecting 99 walks and 104 RBI. But despite the impressive display of power and run production, the biggest accolades for Skole within the organization came from as a result of his huge strides forward on defense at third base. That earned him Nationals Minor League Player of the Year honors.
5. Nathan Karns – RHP | Last Year: N/A
The highest mover from last year’s list (from being unranked in a group that runs 30 deep), Karns improved upon an encouraging 2011 season by lowering his walk rate and increasing his strikeouts, yielding tremendous results. He fanned 148 batters in just 116.0 innings, winning 11 games over two levels en route to the Nationals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.
6. Christian Garcia – RHP | Last Year: N/A
It seems that on every team, every year, there is a surprise Minor Leaguer who breaks out and makes the big leagues as a September call-up. Garcia was that surprise this year, though his talent was well documented. Fully recovered from a second Tommy John surgery, the righty flashed a high-90s fastball and devastating slider to a 0.86 ERA with 66 strikeouts in just 52.1 innings across Double-A and Triple-A. He impressed enough in his debut to earn a spot on the playoff roster, and will likely have an impact as a member of the Nationals pitching staff.
7. Eury Perez – OF | Last Year: 22
A September call-up like Garcia, Perez was primarily used as a pinch-runner in the Majors in 2012, where the Nationals took advantage of his blazing speed. He actually posted better numbers in Triple-A than at Double-A last season, combining for a .314/.344/.361 line and 51 steals between three stops in the minors. Perez will still be just 22 on Opening Day, and will be in Major League camp come Spring Training.
8. Sammy Solis – LHP | Last Year: 8
Taken by the Nationals in the second round out of the University of San Diego back in 2010, Solis missed the 2012 season due to injury. Washington has high hopes for the lefty, who is on track to be fully healthy by spring after posting an 8-3 mark with a 3.13 ERA in 17 A-ball starts back in 2011.
9. Matt Purke – LHP | Last Year: 7
A third-round selection out of TCU in 2011, Purke made just three starts at Hagerstown this year before being shut down. The 6’4”, 205-pound lefty pitched well in the Arizona Fall League in 2011 and got some time against Major Leaguers in Spring Training this past season. With at least two plus pitches, Purke will be worth keeping an eye on this year.
10. Zach Walters – INF | Last Year: 19
Walters was the return chip from the Jason Marquis trade in 2011 and has proven to be a consistent, heady player as he has moved through the system. With his athletic, strong body and a plus arm, he’s a switch-hitter whose solid defense profiles across the infield. He reached Triple-A by the end of 2012 and, at just 23 years of age, seems to have a bright future ahead.
We are putting our own spin on the traditional “10 Questions” format this season. To mix it up a little, we are asking players, front office members, coaches, prospects and others nine questions we think you’d like to know the answer to, then taking our favorite submission through Facebook and Twitter from the fans for the final question.
The Washington Nationals inked their 2012 first-round pick just 30 seconds before the signing deadline on July 13. Lucas Giolito, a tall, power-pitching right-hander who has touched triple digits on the radar gun as a teenager, was highly regarded by talent evaluators everywhere and when he was still available when the Nationals picked at 16, EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo said it was a “no-brainer” for Washington to draft him. Curly W Live sat down with the youngster as he visited Nationals Park on Tuesday afternoon for the first time as an official member of the organization.
1. It must have been a tough decision turning down an offer to play at a powerhouse program in your own backyard like UCLA. What was the turning point for you in signing with the Nats?
It definitely took a lot of thinking about UCLA. Coach (John) Savage and the whole UCLA baseball program is unbelievable. But, coming to D.C. in that first trip I took out here, being on the field, meeting the guys, seeing the city was really a huge turning point. Being able to be a part of it was unreal.
2. You visited D.C. a month ago when the Yankees were in town. What was your favorite part about that trip?
Probably going out seeing all of the monuments, all the sights. I’d never been to D.C. before. So seeing the city was a great experience.
3. Your mother, father, uncle and grandfather have all worked in the entertainment business in LA. Did you ever have any interest in getting into acting?
Yeah, a lot of my family is in the entertainment industry but I really never got into it. I actually never really watched a lot of the movies or television shows they were in. I was mostly focused on playing baseball.
4. How do you know Samuel L. Jackson, who gave you a shout out on Twitter after you signed?
My dad is friends with Sam, he’s played golf with him in the past. Sam’s actually given me some autographs, an autographed Mace Windu lightsaber and stuff like that. So we go back a little.
Shout out to @LGio27! The real FASTBALLAFAHKKHA!!!!!!—
Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) July 15, 2012
5. Was there a friendly rivalry between you and teammate Max Fried, taken seventh overall by the San Diego Padres?
I know Max really well. I’ve known him for a couple of years now. When he got to Harvard-Westlake for his senior year – he was a senior transfer – we kind of had a friendly rivalry from the start. We’re best friends, but we always like to compete against each other, so competing against each other at the next level will be even cooler.
6. Before the draft, people drew comparisons between you and Roy Halladay. What does it mean to you to have people use your name in the same sentence as a Cy Young Award winner?
That feels unbelievable. Obviously I’m not anywhere close to a Roy Halladay or a (Justin) Verlander or a (Stephen) Strasburg like we have here in D.C. But to be able to work hard and try to get to that kind of point is something I’m really focused on.
7. When you look at the young pitching talent already in this organization, how excited do you get thinking about the possibility of joining them in the big leagues in a few years?
I couldn’t be more excited to maybe pitch in the same place as Strasburg, Gio (Gonzalez), (Jordan) Zimmermann, all those guys. I have so much respect for them and what they’re doing. Being able to start at the bottom to try to work my way up there is unbelievable.
8. At 6’6”, you are a half-foot taller than Gio Gonzalez. How do you feel about the nickname “Little Gio?”
I think it’s kind of funny. I wouldn’t mind that. Obviously I know Gio is a much bigger name than me, so it kind of fits.
9. What’s your first order of business now that you are officially a Washington National?
The first thing I want to do now that I’m part of the team is go to the game tonight and root on, well, I guess I can call them my teammates of the future. I’m really excited.
Fan Question, from @mthardyyy on Twitter: How does it feel to be drafted by such a young organization with such a bright future?
I couldn’t agree more. I think that the Nationals organization is the best organization in baseball and I’m so excited to get started and move my way up.
Washington Nationals (50-34) vs. Miami Marlins (41-45)
LHP Gio Gonzalez (12-3, 2.92) vs. LHP Mark Buerhle (8-8, 3.25)
The Nationals and Marlins meet for the second of a three-game set, with prized offseason left-handed pitching acquisitions Gio Gonzalez and Mark Buehrle going head-to-head. Gonzalez, a native of Hialeah, FL, makes his first start of the year in Miami.
1. Espinosa 2B
2. Harper CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Morse RF
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Moore LF
8. Flores C
9. Gonzalez LHP
Z-MEN LEAD NATIONALS TO 50TH WIN
Jordan Zimmermann (6-6) logged 6.0 scoreless frames, lowering his ERA to 2.48, en route to his 3rd straight winning decision and Ryan Zimmerman went 3-for-4 including a 2-run homer, leading the Nationals to a 5-1 win last night at Miami, their first-ever at Marlins Park.
SETTING THE TABLE
Last night’s win marked the 18th time the Nationals have won a series opener this season. Washington has gone on to win the series 14 of the previous 17 times they won the first game of a set, splitting two-game series in the other three instances. With a win tonight, the Nationals would claim their 18th series win, after going 17-7-4 in series play prior to the All-Star break.
NATIONALS ADD ANOTHER GIO TO STABLE
At yesterday’s 5:00 p.m. signing deadline, the Nationals announced they agreed to terms with RHP Lucas Giolito, their first-round (16th overall) selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Harvard-Westlake School in California…the 17-year-old went 9-1 with 78 strikeouts and a 1.00 ERA in 70.1 IP as a senior this year, after being named a Perfect Game All-American as a junior in ‘11. In all, Washington agreed to terms with 29 players selected in the 2012 Draft, including its top 14 picks and 23 of its top 24 selections.
With 40 rounds and over 1,000 picks, the MLB First-Year Player Draft can be confusing to follow. That was even more the case for the Nationals this season considering first-round pick Lucas Giolito joins current starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and second-round selection Tony Renda shares nearly the same name with 2011 first-rounder Anthony Rendon. If that wasn’t enough, third-rounder Brett Mooneyham was selected fresh out of Stanford University, while Brandon Miller, the player the Nats selected next, set numerous records in his time as a power hitter for… wait for it… Samford University.
To help clear it all up here is a more detailed look at those who signed from the Nationals top 10 selections.
Tony Renda: 2B, University of California, Berkeley
Renda, the Nationals second-round selection, was a junior playing second base for the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears. Where he truly excels, however, is at the plate.
“In our opinion, Tony has the quickest bat in the draft,” Nationals Director of Scouting Kris Kline said of Renda immediately after the organization selected him.
This season, Renda had a .342 batting average, five home runs, and 27 RBI. As a sophomore in 2011, he was named Pac-10 player of the year, and was selected as one of 50 players on USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Watch list as the nation’s top amateur baseball player. Look out for Renda’s performance with the Short-Season Auburn Doubledays, as he takes his first step on the long ladder of professional baseball.
Brandon Miller: OF, Samford University
The Nationals selected Samford University’s school record-setting alumnus, Brandon Miller, with their fourth-round pick. In the 2008 draft, the Red Sox picked Miller, a high school senior at the time, in the 33rd round. A true power hitter in college, Miller led the nation with 23 home runs this season, and was 15th with 65 RBI.
Miller “has middle of the lineup power,” said Nationals Area Supervisor Eric Robinson. “[He] reminds me of our own Tyler Moore.”
Spencer Kieboom: C, Clemson
Spencer Kieboom (KEE-boom), a duel citizen of the US and the Netherlands, was the Nationals’ fifth-round selection. He struck out only 17 times in 204 at-bats this season. Kieboom was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List in both 2011 and 2012, and was an All-ACC Academic Team member in 2011. After signing with the Nationals, Kieboom sent the following thank you message to his fans on Twitter:
“These past three years at Clemson have been some of the best years of my life, Clemson baseball is and always will hold a special place in my life. I wouldn’t have traded these past three years for anything.”
Hayden Jennings, OF, Evangel Christian High School (LA)
While Jennings may not have had the same hype as Bryce Harper did going into the draft, he is another left-handed hitting outfielder who just happens to share the exact same birthday as Harper. Jennings hails from Shreveport, LA and the 19 year-old was set to head to LSU this fall until he signed with the team a week ago. Last Thursday, he was sitting at his kitchen table surrounded by his parents and three sisters, when he officially inked his deal with the Nats. Jennings joins the Nationals after leading Evangel Christian High School (LA) to a state championship during his junior season in 2011. He was named the Shreveport Times All-City Player of the Year and Class 2A Most Outstanding Player as a senior this season.
Derek Self: RHP, University of Louisville
Derek Self was the Nationals ninth-round pick out of the University of Louisville, where he pitched for four years. In his first three seasons with the Cardinals, Self had a 14-3 record in 70 appearances (15 starts). Following his junior season, Self was taken in the 27th round by the Oakland A’s, but opted to head back to school for his senior year, where he led the team with seven saves in 26 appearances out of the bullpen. While he started the 2012 season as the Cardinals set-up man, he eventually took over as the closer. In 2009, Self pitched the final three innings in Louisville’s College World Series Regional win over Middle Tennessee State, where he threw 27 of 29 pitches for strikes.
Craig Manuel: C, Rice University
Craig Manuel comes to the Nationals from Rice University, where he was the second of eight Owls selected in the 2012 Draft. This past season he was on the national watch list for the Johnny Bench Award as the best Division I catcher. In his four years with the Owls, Manuel led his team to four straight Conference USA Championships, four NCAA appearances and was error free in 463 attempts. But it wasn’t just behind the plate that Manuel excelled. He finished his collegiate career with a .291 batting average and 100 RBI in 209 career games.
“I think he’s one of the top catchers in Division I, and he may be one of the best situational hitters in college baseball,” Manuel’s Head Coach at Rice, Wayne Graham said.
Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day action, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.
Monday brought with it the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, in which Washington snagged prep right-hander Lucas Giolito with the 16th overall pick. Meanwhile, the Nationals returned home as they continued their stretch of 33 straight games versus east division opponents with a three-game set against the New York Mets. The teams went extra innings on Tuesday, as Ian Desmond became the first player since Cincinnati’s Art Shamsky in 1966 to tie a game three separate times in the 8th inning or later before Bryce Harper hit the first walk-off by a teenager since 1988 in a 7-6, 12-inning win. On Wednesday, Adam LaRoche homered in the first inning on his way to a four-RBI night in support of Edwin Jackson, as the Nationals won their second series in as many tries against the New York National League Ballclub. The Mets bounced back on Thursday behind a sparkling performance by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to salvage the final game of the set, 3-1.
Washington then hit the road for just the club’s second visit to Fenway Park in team history since the move from Montreal. Friday night, the Nationals recorded their first-ever win in Boston, using a superb team effort to back a 13-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg – on the two-year anniversary of his Major League debut – in a 7-4 victory. The team struck early on Saturday, jumping out to a four-run lead early, then hanging on late for a 4-2 victory thanks to some solid work by the bullpen. The Nationals then capped off the week with a Sunday victory for just their second full-series sweep of the year, as Tyler Clippard recorded his third save in as many days in a 4-2 final.
Tue vs. NYM: W, 7-6 (12)
Wed vs. NYM: W, 5-3
Thu vs. NYM: L, 3-1
Fri @ BOS: W, 7-4
Sat @ BOS: W, 4-2
Sun @ BOS: W, 4-3
Weekly Record: 5-1
Hello everyone. Welcome to another big week here at Nationals Park.
Take a look around you. We have a full-fledged pennant race going on. And like many Nats fans, I have never had so much fun.
Just knowing that every game means something – every division game essentially constitutes two games – this race has taken my scoreboard watching ups and downs to new levels. Can you imagine this in September?
How about witnessing history on Sunday afternoon as Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper became the first pair of rookie teammates in modern-day MLB history (since 1900) to begin a game’s first inning with back-to-back home runs.
These two young guys seem to provide a thrill or two every night. Even though the Braves came back to win Sunday’s finale, I took solace in knowing that Steve and Bryce are homegrown products. Is there anything better for fans than cheering for players unearthed, drafted and developed in your own system?
Lombardozzi is literally homegrown, as he hails from Atholton High School in Columbia, Maryland. Upon Lombardozzi hitting his first big league homer, I was able to congratulate his father, Steve, on his son’s big moment. His urge was to run out to the bullpen to get the ball, but I told him we had it under control.
Speaking of homegrown, on Monday night we drafted righthander Lucas Giolito from Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles with the 16th pick in the 2012 Draft.
In talking to Mike Rizzo, Roy Clark and Kris Kline, they conveyed to me that Lucas is the epitome of what a high school power pitcher should look like. He’s already 6-foot-6, 220 pounds and has not turned 18 yet.
Entering the new year, Lucas’ talents had him on a short list of players to be considered for the draft’s top overall selection. Lucas unfortunately strained his right elbow during his senior season at Harvard-Westlake. But he was immediately examined by some of this country’s foremost doctors who happen to reside in the L.A. area. We have been made privy to all of his medicals and felt totally comfortable calling his name at pick #16.
Then, in the second round, Rizzo took Cal-Berkeley second baseman Tony Renda, who is said to have strong offensive skills (he was the Pac-10 player of the Year as a sophomore) and even better intangibles. In the third round, we tabbed Brett Mooneyham, a lefty out of Stanford University who is 6’5″ and 225 pounds. Power pitching!
The beauty of this is that despite Lucas’ supreme talent, there is no urgency on our part. Remember, we have a fleet of young power pitchers in place for the next 4-5 years. Their names: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Detwiler. So, when Lucas and his power arm are good and ready to ascend to the big leagues, we’ll find the space.
Most scouts will tell you that Day Two of the Draft is a much better reflection of a club’s scouting department and its depth than Day One, which is overflowing with high-end talent. I am always excited to chat with our scouts who really are the vanguards of the sport. There is no ‘tomorrow’ in this game without a scout nearby.
I am looking forward to getting up to Fenway Park this weekend as interleague play restarts. I am also even happier that Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann are slated to face Boston’s deep lineup. Should be a fun weekend test for Davey and the boys.
Reminder to get out and vote for your favorite Nationals as part of MLB’s All-Star Vote, whether it be at Nationals Park or online.
I have already punched a few ballots and am especially hopeful that Adam LaRoche can get some much-deserved traction. And don’t forget you can vote for both Harper and Lombardozzi as write-in candidates.
Enjoy the games everybody … and see you soon at Nationals Park.
The 2012 First-Year Player Draft is in full swing, with rounds 2-15 taking place on Tuesday. The Draft got started with a televised round one on Monday night, and will conclude with the final 35 rounds taking place on Wednesday. In the meantime, here’s a little more on the Nationals top 10 selections from this year’s crop.
1. RHP Lucas Giolito | 6’6” – 230 | Harvard-Westlake HS, North Hollywood, CA | 16th overall
See our complete breakdown of Giolito here.
2. 2B Tony Renda | 5’8” – 180 | University of California-Berkeley | 80th overall
The 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Renda has drawn Dustin Pedroia comparisons due to his surprising power at his size. A plus defensive second baseman, Renda hit .342 with 16 2B, 5 HR and 27 RBI in 54 games for the Bears en route to being named a 2012 third-team TPX All-American in 2012. Renda leaves Cal tied for fourth on the schools all-time career doubles list with 51. In 2012, he led the Golden Bears with 16 SB and 29 BB.
Scout’s Take: In our opinion, Tony has the quickest bat in the draft. He has always hit. He brings controlled aggression and a strong, compact swing. He has tremendous makeup and is a great kid. – Kris Kline, Nationals Director of Scouting
3. LHP Brett Mooneyham | 6’5” – 235 | Stanford University | 111th overall
Mooneyham was selected as a fourth-year junior out of Renda’s college rival, Stanford. The tall lefty was the Cardinal’s number two starter this season, following eighth overall selection Mark Appel (PIT). Mooneyham went 7-5 with a 4.26 ERA over 14 starts and was fourth in the Pac-12 with 90 strikeouts.
Scout’s Take: A plus athlete with a fastball that touches 97 to go along with a plus curveball and changeup. Mooneyham projects as high as a number three starter. His father, Bill, was a former Major Leaguer. – Kline
4. OF Brandon Miller | 6’1” – 208 | Samford University | 144th overall
A senior redraft by the Nationals, who also selected him in the 48th round in 2010 (the Red Sox selected him out of high school in ’08), Miller led NCAA with 23 HR while being named 2nd team Louisville Slugger All-America. He leaves Samford as the career leader in HR with 39.
Scout’s Take: A redraft out of Junior College, he has middle of the lineup power. Miller is a versatile catcher who profiles both at right field and catcher and has great makeup. His profile reminds me of our own Tyler Moore. – Eric Robinson, SE Area Supervisor
5. C Spencer Kieboom | 6’0” – 220 | Clemson University | 174th overall
A junior, Kieboom was rated the #84 prospect in the preseason by Baseball America. The backstop is a two-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member
Scout’s Take: We thought Spencer was one of the best defensive catchers in the country. He hit very well during ACC play. He’s a workhorse. – Nationals Assistant GM Roy Clark
6. OF Hayden Jennings | 6’0” – 170 | Evangel Christian Academy (LA) | 204th overall
Jennings logged a .439 batting average along with a 0.00 ERA in three pitching starts. The outfielder hit 12 home runs as a leadoff man, driving home 31 RBI and swiping a perfect 23-for-23 on the base paths. Jennings was an honorable mention All-American as a junior in 2011.
Scout’s Take: He’s a center fielder that can really run. He’s a plus defensive player overall and a leadoff hitter. – Kline
7. RHP Robert Benincasa | 6’1” – 180 | Florida State University | 234th overall
In 29 appearances in 2012, Benincasa allowed just five earned runs in 35.0 innings pitched (1.29 ERA), going 4-1 with a team-leading 15 saves along the way. He was named first team All-ACC, a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, a third team All-American by Collegiate Baseball ,and a finalist for Stopper of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Scout’s Take: He’s put up tremendous numbers this year. He goes 90-92 with a sinker and uses the slider as an out pitch. He’s a strike thrower with good command and good feel. He should progress quickly through the system. – Kline
8. SS Stephen Perez | 5’11” – 175 | University of Miami | 264th overall
While he may be better known for his fielding, Perez led the University of Miami with four triples, 18 stolen bases and 32 walks. He also ranked among team leaders in doubles (tied-second, 12) and home runs (second, five).
Scout’s Take: Perez is a switch hitter that displays some power from the right side. He’s a very solid, smart base runner. He is a slick fielder up the middle. He displays some flash, some flare, some excitement. – Kline
9. RHP Derek Self | 6’3” – 205 | University of Louisville | 294th overall
Selected in the 27th round as a junior by Oakland, Self returned for his senior year and led the Cardinals with seven saves in 26 relief appearances. The righty posted a modest 3.41 ERA, but his 23-5 strikeout to walk ratio bodes well, and only five of the 34 hits he allowed went for extra bases.
Scout’s Take: We’ve been watching him for two years. Has a hard slider and his fastball is 90-93. He began the season as Louisville’s setup man but eventually took over the closer role. – National Crosschecker Jeff Zona
10. C Craig Manuel | 6’1” – 205 | Rice University | 324th overall
Manuel showed a great eye at the plate, drawing 18 walks while striking out just 13 times his senior year. The backstop also logged a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage behind the plate.
Scout’s Take: He’s been a starter for 3 years and has handled all of their big pitchers. Very good receiver, very good thrower. His coach called him one of the best situational hitters in college baseball. – National Crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales
“With the 16th selection of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the Washington Nationals select…”
There were months of planning and anticipation leading up to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig saying those words from the stage in New York City Monday night. And while the Nationals did not make headlines before the draft as they had in each of the past few seasons, they found a way to make some noise with their mid-round pick.
Coming off the first overall selection in 2009 (Stephen Strasburg) and 2010 (Bryce Harper), and a pair of first-round selections in 2011 (Anthony Rendon at #6, Alex Meyer at #23), the organization was out of the spotlight for the first time in a while. But they were able to find a pitcher who was talked about earlier in the year as a possible number one overall pick in right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito.
A 17 year-old from North Hollywood California’s Harvard-Westlake Prep, the 6-foot, 6-inch, 220-pounder has been clocked with a fastball as high as 100 miles-per-hour and possesses a sharp, 12-6 breaking ball in the mid 80s. His physical makeup drew comparisons to Roy Halladay from both Nationals AGM & VP of Player Personnel Roy Clark, as well as the MLB Network crew covering the draft. But a strain of his ulnar collateral ligament gave teams just enough pause for Giolito to fall to the Nats at 16.
After making the comparison to Halladay, Clark explained the pick thusly at the press conference on Monday night.
“A top of the rotation guy that you can get at 16? It was a no-brainier for us.”
Nationals EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo detailed the reasons the organization was happy to add Giolito to the illustrious list of first-round selections since the franchise’s relocation to our Nation’s Capital.
“Lucas has the body, power arm, character and make-up to become a front-line starter in the big leagues,” said Rizzo. “This is the type of player, the type of ceiling, and the type of stuff we want in this organization.”
It will be up to Rizzo and company now to sign Giolito, who has a college commitment to nearby UCLA.
“This is one of those moves where five years from now you might look back and say, ‘even if he misses a year, what does it really matter?’” said MLB Network’s Peter Gammons during live coverage of the draft immediately after the pick. “The Nationals look like they’re going to be so good that they’re not going to have many shots at this kind of player.”
Love that pick. #nats—
(@keithlaw) June 05, 2012
With a rotation that already includes young hurlers like Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann under team control for the next several seasons, plus Meyer and Matt Purke developing in the pipeline, adding Giolito can only strengthen an already formidable collection of young power arms.
The 2012 First-Year Player Draft will continue with rounds 2-15 beginning at noon on Tuesday, and conclude with rounds 16-50 on Wednesday. Make sure to follow @Nationals on Twitter for updates on all the organization’s selections, along with exclusive quotes from baseball operations executives on the top 10 picks.