The Washington Nationals announced their Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year this afternoon, giving 20-year-old, 2012 1st Round pick Lucas Giolito the 2014 Pitcher of the Year nod and 25-year-old outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. the Player of the Year award after the '07 3rd Round pick put together a strong campaign at Triple-A and made his MLB debut this season...
#Nats name Steven Souza Jr. (@StevenSouzaJR) Minor League Player of the Year and Lucas Giolito (@LGio27) Minor League Pitcher of the Year.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 24, 2014
Giolito, in his first full season back after Tommy John surgery, was (10-2) in 20 starts for the Low-A Hagerstown Suns over which he put up a 2.20 ERA and a 3.16 FIP with 28 walks (2.57 BB/9) and 110 Ks (10.10 K/9) in 98 IP.
The top prospect in the Nats' organization coming into the season on just about everyone's list, Giolito was named the South Atlantic League's Most Outstanding pitcher and the SAL's Most Outstanding MLB prospect.
Nationals' Assistant GM and VP of Player Development Doug Harris talked to MLB Network Radio host Grant Paulsen about Giolito's season in early August, right before the right-hander was shut down for the year.
"Really pleased with what he's been able to accomplish," Harris said. "He's taken the ball -- we shut him down for a short period of time, one of our goals this year was to get him through a full season, so we had to really manage the innings, we skipped him a few times really at the midway point, but he understands the everyday-ness of a full season at this point, what he has to do to take the ball every fifth day and he's really done a nice job for us. Really pleased."
Souza, in his eighth season in the Nationals' organization after he was drafted out of Cascade High School in Cascade, Washington in 2007, put up a .350/.432/.590 line with 25 doubles and 18 HRs in 96 games and 407 plate appearances for Triple-A Syracuse.
The right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder was up and down to the majors all season after making his MLB debut on April 13th in Atlanta and in a September 17th game against the Braves hit his first major league home run on his second major league hit.
"That ball was hit a long way," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the 445 ft blast in Turner Field. "He's got power to all fields. He had an incredible year in the minor leagues this year."
Both players will be honored in a pregame ceremony before Thursday's series finale with the Mets.