Lucas Giolito returned to competitive action this summer following Tommy John surgery in 2012. The 19-year-old, 2012 1st Round pick's second pro season began with eight starts for the Gulf Coast League's GCL Nationals over which Washington's top-rated prospect (according to Baseball America) 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 2/3 IP.
Giolito then jumped to the NY/Penn League's Auburn Doubledays, making three starts in which 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.
BA's Aaron Fitt wrote this past November in ranking Giolito as the Nationals' top prospect that upon returning to the mound, "[Giolito] showed the kind of dazzling stuff that gives him a Strasburg-esque ceiling." The right-hander was listed as having the Best Fastball and the Best Curveball in the Nats' organization. Though Tommy John was a possibility when he was drafted, and his elbow injury was the reason the potential no.1 overall pick was available when Washington picked 16th, the Nationals' decision to take their chances with Giolito started to look like a good one.
Giolito (no.44) was one of two Nats' prospects, along with RHP A.J. Cole, to crack MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect list for 2014. Baseball Prospectus' writer Jason Parks ranked Giolito 13th overall on BP's Top 101 Prospect list when it was released this winter. ESPN.com's Keith Law put the hard-throwing right-hander at no.21 when he released his own Top 100 Prospects list, writing that with his mid-90's heater and "plus-plus" curve, Giolito projects to be a no.1 starter in the future if he continues to progress as he has so far.
When Baseball America released their own Top 100 Prospects list tonight, they too had the Nationals' top prospect ranked no.21 overall:
Here is BA's writeup on Giolito:
"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."
Giolito was the only Nationals' prospect to make BA's Top 100: