The Washington Nationals have one representative, Tyler Clippard, in this Tuesday's edition of the Midsummer Classic in Target Field in Minnesota, but there are two Nats' prospects taking part in today's Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game, which showcases the top talent from each major league team's minor league system.
The two prospects chosen to represent the Nationals, Lucas Giolito and Michael Taylor, were ranked no.1 and no.7, respectively, on Baseball America's 2014 Top 10 Prospects list for the Nats' organization at the start of the season.
When Baseball America released its Midseaon Update of the Top 50 Prospects in baseball earlier this month, Giolito was ranked no.11 overall two years after the no.16 overall pick in the 2012 Draft underwent Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow which he injured in his final year at Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles, California.
BA's scouts wrote then that, Giolito, "Possesses some of the best pure stuff in the minors," and, "... just needs to refine it and stay healthy."
Giolito, 19, returned from rehab from Tommy John last summer, and the 6'6'', 250lb righty began his 2013 campaign with the Gulf Coast Nationals, for whom he was (1-1) with a 2.78 ERA, a 2.32 FIP, 10 walks (3.97 BB/9) and 25 Ks (9.93 K/9) in 22 ⅔ IP. He then moved up to the New York-Penn League's Auburn Doubledays, where he was (1-0) with a 0.64 ERA, a 3.41 FIP, four walks (2.57 BB/9) and 14 Ks (9.00 K/9) in 14 IP.
in his second season back following surgery, Giolito was assigned to the Low-A Hagerstown Suns.
In 14 starts so far this season, the right-hander is (4-2) with a 2.47 ERA, a 3.82 FIP, 24 walks (3.29 BB/9) and 72 Ks (9.87 K/9) in 65 ⅔ IP.
Just landed in Minneapolis! #futures— Lucas Giolito (@LGio27) July 12, 2014
• According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, Giolito is scheduled to be the sixth pitcher into the game for the US squad this afternoon:
U.S. @futuresgame P sequence: Owens, Norris, Binford, Harvey, Meyer, Giolito, Thompson, Shipley, Stephenson, Syndergaard.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 13, 2014
Michael Taylor, 23, was an '09 6th Round pick by the Nationals out of the Westminster Academy (HS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In his fifth season in the organization, the right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder has put up a .323/.404/.540 line with 16 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 88 games and 391 plate appearances heading into the All-Star Futures Game this afternoon.
In a recent interview with Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio host Grant Paulsen on Mr. Paulsen's show Minors and Majors, the 6'3'', 209 lb center fielder said he was excited for the opportunity to play in today's game, which he's watched from afar in the past.
"It's definitely very cool," Taylor said, "and something I'm looking forward to, something that we all watch on tv and this is actually my first all-star game so it's pretty exciting for me."
As the Harrisburg Senators excitedly noted on Twitter this morning, we should get a good look at Taylor this afternoon since he's starting in center and leading off for the US squad:
Michael Taylor is leading off and playing CF in today's @futuresgame!— Harrisburg Senators (@HbgSenators) July 13, 2014
• Here are the Lineups:
Here's the US Team lineup: Taylor, CF Coyle, 2B Seager, SS Bryant, 3B Gallo, DH Peterson, 1B Winker, LF Renfroe, RF Plawecki, C Owens, LHP— Futures Game (@futuresgame) July 13, 2014
Here's the World Team lineup: Pompey, CF Lindor, SS Peraza, 2B Vargas, 1B Moya, LF Alvarez, RF Guerrero, DH Nunez, 3B Alfaro, C Berrios, RHP— Futures Game (@futuresgame) July 13, 2014
• Here are the Pitchers:
Game Time: 5:00 PM EDT, Target Field in Minnesota. Who's watching the Nats' prospects?