Right-handers Lucas Giolito and Jake Johansen made positive progress last month at the fall instructional league conducted by the Nationals in Viera, Fla. This week they completed a strength and conditioning camp at the same location.
Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams said both looked very good in their workouts and pitching performances during the October instructional league.
"Well, I think they are really on the right track heading forward," Williams said. "They both finished instructional league healthy. That was a big thing for us. They both got their innings in this year, that was another big thing for us."
Williams said the Nats focused on pitching defense with Giolito and Johansen. They concentrated on repeating their deliveries whether their was a man on base or the bases were empty.
"I think the biggest and the happiest thing for me, they understand besides throwing the baseball, they learned to holding runners and the different things we have to do to be a winning pitcher," Williams said. "Along with throwing the baseball and their secondary stuff, both of them really made big improvements with that in instructional league. They are both relatively inexperienced, obviously Giolito is younger than Johansen, but from an experience standpoint they are both very young."
Williams said coaches worked with the 19-year-old Giolito, the 22-year-old Johansen and other young pitchers to make sure their stuff did not fall off in velocity and command if they had to pitch from the stretch versus the windup.
"We are trying to make sure their stuff is similar from windup to stretch," Williams continued. "We really emphasize working out of the stretch to be quick to plate and having the same type of stuff out of the stretch versus full windup.
"You got to have your good stuff. You don't want to give up a two run home run just because you are quick to the plate. We really emphasize that at the minor league level for our guys and push that by making them have a lot of reps out of the stretch."
It will be exciting to see the movement Giolito will be able to make next season because he will not have an innings limit, after recovery from Tommy John surgery. Johansen was impressive this past season and will likely get his shot at high Single-A Potomac.