Lucas Giolito, the Washington Nationals 2012 1st Round pick, has reportedly been promoted from the Gulf Coast League's GCL Nationals to the Nats' NY/Penn League affiliate, the Auburn Doubledays. MiLB.com has the promotion listed on its transactions page though there has been no official announcement from the team. Giolito, 19, was the 16th pick of the 2012 Draft out of Harvard-Westlake HS in Los Angeles, California.
The 6'6'' right-hander fell to the Nationals over concerns about a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament he suffered in his right elbow during his final high school season. The Nats took the pitcher knowing that he might eventually have to undergo Tommy John surgery and after just one start for the GCL Nats last season, he did suffer a tear of the UCL.
When Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked about the team's plan for Giolito on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. earlier this summer, just after Giolito started pitching in the Gulf Coast League, the Nationals' general manager said they were already impressed with the way the pitcher was recovering. "His velocity is creeping back to where [it was] pre-injury, and when we saw him in high school before we drafted him," Rizzo said, "He was 95-99 and he's started spinning the breaking ball pretty good. He's commanding three pitches and he looks really good on the mound."
The Nationals, Rizzo explained, were going to, "... take a cautious route to get him back. Try to get him some innings under his belt to kind of prep him for next year to go to a higher full season league and get his 140-150 innings in next year." Giolito made eight starts with the GCL Nats before he was promoted today. In 22 2/3 IP, the right-hander has a 2.78 ERA, a 2.32 FIP, 10 walks (3.97 BB/9) and 25 Ks (9.93 K/9). In three August starts, Giolito's posted a 0.64 ERA with three walks (1.93 BB/9) and 14 (9.00 K/9) of his 25 Ks in his last 14 IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a .188 AVG.
Giolito told MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr last week that it took a little while for him to get used to pitching in a competitive atmosphere again. "'It was kind of like I had to get my bearings back,'" the right-hander said, "'But as far as my last few starts, I have finally got in that rhythm I like to pitch at and feel comfortable on the mound.'"
Giolito will be joining the Nationals' top pick in 2013, Jake Johansen, with the Doubledays, giving the Nats' affiliate a pair of intimidating 6'6'' right-handers in their rotation. In 10 starts and 42 1/3 IP this season, Johansen, 22, has a 0.85 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, 18 walks (3.83 BB/9) and 44 Ks (9.35 K/9).
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