With the 16th pick in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Nationals went the pitching route, selecting right-hander Lucas Giolito, a high schooler out of Harvard-Westlake School (Ca.)
Giolito was once considered the No. 1 prospect in this year’s draft class, but fell down the board due to injury concerns. The young right-hander had his senior season ended due to a sprained UCL in his throwing elbow.
The 17-year-old, who checks in at 6-foot-6, 230 lbs., possesses a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s (93-98 mph in most starts) and has hit triple digits at times. His curveball is considered a plus pitch and he also mixes in a changeup.
Scouts considered him the only player in this draft with true No. 1 starter upside, but the elbow injury obviously is the major question mark.
Giolito went 9-1 with 78 strikeouts and a 1.00 ERA in 70.1 innings as a senior, throwing three shutouts and tossing four complete games. He was named a Perfect Game All-American as a junior.
This marks the third player in the last two years with injury concerns that the Nats have taken high in the draft. Last year, Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke were taken in the first and third rounds, respectively, despite health issues.
General manager Mike Rizzo talked about wanting to get an “impact player” with the Nats’ first-round pick. If Giolito is healthy, he certainly has the potential to make an impact.