Asked to make a comparison with a major league player after the Washington Nationals drafted Lucas Giolito 16th overall in 2012, now-former Nats' Assistant GM Roy Clark threw out a name that caught everyone's attention.
"A good comparison might be Roy Halladay when everything's clicking," Clark said. "We'll take that... every year of the draft."
"I saw him several times last summer," Clark continued. "Up to 98 [mph] with a plus breaking ball and real good change up... 6'6''... again, a top-of-the-rotation guy that you can get at 16, our doctors' reports, everything was fine. It was a no-brainer for us."
The only reason there was any question about drafting Giolito when he fell to the Nationals with the 16th pick was that he suffered a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during his final year at Harvard-Westlake High School in California.
Had he not suffered the injury, there as a possibility Giolito would have gone no.1 overall.
"He's got a power curve and that's probably as good as his fastball," Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said on the night of the 2012 Draft.
"He's got a power 12-6 curve that's anywhere from 82-to-85-86 mph at times and he's got a feel to pitch. He's not a thrower. He's got a touch and comes at you with that 6'6'' frame, he comes at you downhill and he's coming hard."
"I mean this kid's been up to 100 [mph]," current Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Operations Kris Kline said at the time. "He'll touch 100, he's got a power curve ball that's 80-85, very good feel for his changeup, tremendous size, excellent leverage to his delivery."
It was impossible not to think of those comments when reading MLB.com's Jim Callis' article today in which he says the Giolito has the "best raw talent" amongst pitching prospects in baseball.
Once he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery, which the Nationals knew might be a possibility when they drafted him, "... [the] first three pitches he threw when he got back on the mound in a game in 2013 were clocked at 100 mph," Callis writes, though the right-hander has been throwing his fastball in the 93-96 mph range so far this season in his first full-year of pro ball.
"As if his velocity weren't enough, Giolito's fastball plays up because of its life and plane. He can run his fastball to either side of the plate, and his 6-foot-6 frame allows him to throw it on an extreme downhill angle."
Giolito's curve, Callis says, "... is a true 12-to-6 breaker that can reach the mid-80s," and he, "... has nice feel for his sinking changeup, which shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch."
Callis and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo go back-and-forth about whether Giolito or Mariners' prospect Taijuan Walker has the best raw talent in a video released along with the article. Check out the article and video below: