BA's Aaron Fitt wrote this winter that once Giolito, the Nationals' 1st Round pick in 2012 at no.16 overall, returned to the mound following Tommy John surgery and rehab, "[He] showed the kind of dazzling stuff that gives him a Strasburg-esque ceiling."
The no.1 prospect in the Nationals' organization started his 2013 campaign with the Gulf Coast Nationals, going (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. Giolito 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 placing Giolito 21st on their Top 100, BA's scouts wrote in February that, "No one in the minors 'just needs innings' more than Giolito, whose pure stuff may be the best on this list but who has just 39 professional innings after being a 2012 first-round pick. A healthy campaign in a full-season rotation is first and foremost."
Though the Nationals have rested the right-hander this season, spacing out his starts and explaining that they wanted him to experience a full season while also keeping his innings limited, Giolito has thus far remained healthy in his first full-year back following Tommy John. Through 13 starts for the Low-A Hagerstown Suns, the hard-throwing starter is (4-2) with 2.19 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 21 walks (3.06 BB/9) and 66 Ks (9.63 K/9) in 61 ⅔ IP.
Last week, Giolito was named as one of two Nationals' prospects for the upcoming All-Star Futures Game along with outfielder Michael Taylor.
On Baseball America's updated midseason list of the Top 50 prospects in baseball, which was released this afternoon, Giolito moved up ten spots to no.11 overall, as the third-highest ranked pitching prospect in baseball behind only the Rockies' Jon Gray and the Orioles' Dylan Bundy.
"Possesses some of the best pure stuff in the minors," BA's staff writes, "just needs to refine it and stay healthy."
The Nationals drafted Giolito after he suffered an elbow injury in his final season at Harvard-Westlake High School in California knowing that he might need surgery on his right elbow.
"We weighed the risk against the reward," Rizzo explained on the night of the 2012 Draft. "We felt that to get a 6'6'', 220lb right-handed pitcher with a great body and plus velocity and good stuff, great character and great makeup, we've been on this guy from day one, and we just felt that the reward outweighed the risk." So far, the risk is paying off.
• Check out the rest of BA's Mid-Season Top 50 below. Giolito was the only Nationals' prospect to crack the Top 50:
We gave subscribers a head-start as a thanks, but the BA Midseason Top 50 Prospects list is now free for all. http://t.co/9afBWZwQbL— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) July 7, 2014