Nationals' Lucas Giolito Is Nats' Highest-Ranked Prospect On Keith Law; Minor League Ball Mid-Season Lists

USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Cole (above) made a big jump on one list, but with three starts in for the Gulf Coast Nationals as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery last summer, Washington Nationals' 2012 1st Round pick Lucas Giolito is the Nats' top-ranked prospect on Keith Law and Minor League Ball's updated Prospect lists.

Anthony Rendon (at no.30) was the highest-ranked Washington Nationals' prospect on Baseball America's 2013 Top 100 Prospects list when it was released this past February. Also cracking the Top 100 on BA's list were RHP Lucas Giolito (no.67) and outfielder Brian Goodwin (no.70). Since Rendon graduated to a starting position at second in the majors with the Nationals, there were no Nats' prospects on Baseball America's updated Top 50 Prospects list when it was released earlier this month.

Giolito, 19, and the Nationals' 2012 1st Round pick, has made three starts with the Gulf Coast Nationals this season as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. Goodwin, 22, and one of three Nats' 2011 1st Round picks, had a .254/.350/.394 line with 13 doubles, eight triples and seven home runs in 93 games and 413 plate appearances at Double-A Harrisburg heading into play today.

Rendon (no.33) and Goodwin (no.71) were the only Nationals' prospects to crack Minor League Ball's Top 75 when John Sickels released his prospect list for 2013 this past March. Then-recently-reacquired right-hander A.J Cole was no.89. Giolito finished just outside the Top 100 at no.104 on the preseason rankings.

When Minor League Ball released its updated Top 75 Prospects List today, Giolito had jumped up to 52nd overall as the Nationals' top ranked prospect, a spot behind Goodwin's fellow 2011 1st Round pick Alex Meyer, who was, of course, dealt to the Twins in the deal that brought Denard Span to D.C. from Minnesota. Here's what Minor League Ball's Mr. Sickels had to say about Giolito:

52) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals. Previously 104. Stuff appears back from Tommy John rehab. We'll see about his command, but a good August will keep his momentum upward. This may seem high but my gut says to put him here. We'll see how that looks in two months.

A.J. Cole, 21, and the 2010 4th Round pick who was dealt to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez trade and reacquired by the Nationals in the Michael Morse three-team deal with the Seattle Mariners and the A's, jumped from 89 to no.69 on Minor League Ball's updated prospects list after going (5-3) with a 4.43 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 22 walks (2.17 BB/9) and 99 Ks (9.76 K/9) over 17 starts and 91 1/3 IP at High-A Potomac so far this season.

"Seems a half-step from putting everything together," Mr. Sickels writes. Cole earned the save for the U.S. Team in this past weekend's All-Star Futures Game after being named as a replacement for RHP Taylor Jordan, who was up in the Nationals' rotation starting the final game of the first-half in Miami and thus unable to pitch in the prospect showcase.

Giolito and Cole were the only Nationals' prospects to crack Mr. Sickels' updated list. Rendon (no.17), Goodwin (no.44), Giolito (no.77), Cole (no.89) and Nathan Karns (no.99) all cracked ESPN.com's Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects list before the 2013 campaign began.

On Mr. Law's Top 50 Updated Prospects List, which was published this afternoon, Giolito was the only Nationals' prospect to crack the Top 50 landing at no.43, with the ESPN analyst writing that less than a year after Tommy John surgery Giolito's velocity has returned with his curve ball and command to follow at which point scouts will know how he's recovered from the procedure. Mr. Law predicts that the 6'6'' right-hander could make an even bigger jump on the next prospect list if he continues to progress as he has since undergoing the procedure.

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