If there was any concern that a step up in league play would be too much for the Nats' first-round pick of the 2012 First Year Player Draft, Lucas Giolito, those concerns were unfounded Wednesday.
The right-hander cruised through five innings in his short-season Single-A Auburn debut. Giolito notched the win, allowing just two hits, giving up no walks and striking out five as Auburn beat Batavia 7-0.
Jeremy Houghtaling of Auburnpub.com has the details.
It is just one start, but it shows that Auburn manager Gary Cathcart's concern - which he told me of earlier in the day - that pitching "under the lights" would be a little nerve-racking for Giolito was not a problem.
Giolito had told me last week that he was not nervous in his GCL Nats debut, and on Wednesday, he wasn't bothered by his first game for Auburn. He will still need to concentrate on keeping the ball down, as all pitchers need to do, but it was a very promising start for Giolito.
Cathcart told me they should be able to get two more starts for Giolito at Auburn in the 14 games remaining. Then, Giolito will go to instructional league in October.
Meanwhile, left-hander Matt Purke has started to build consistency at high Single-A Potomac.
Purke has allowed two or less earned runs in six consecutive starts. He has 35 strikeouts and 13 walks in his 10 starts. Purke is 3-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 51 innings for the P-Nats.
He has won three straight decisions since July 20.
Upcoming debut starts for the organization include Jake Johansen for low Single-A Hagerstown on Friday. Brett Mooneyham makes his first start for Potomac on Saturday.