MLB.com's Pipeline scouts had previously ranked Lucas Giolito as the top right-handed pitching prospect in baseball.
Last night, when they unveiled their list of the Top 100 Prospects overall, the Washington Nationals' 2012 1st Round pick was the top-ranked pitcher on their list, coming in at no.6, behind only Minnesota Twins' outfield prospect Byron Buxton, Chicago Cubs' third base prospect Kris Bryant, Houston Astros' shortstop Carlos Correa, Cleveland Indians' infielder Francisco Lindor and future Cubs' shortstop Addison Russell.
Giolito, of course, was considered a potential no.1 overall pick by scouts before he suffered a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in his final year at Harvard-Westlake HS in Los Angeles, California.
After being selected 16th overall by Washington, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012 and working his way back to the mound, the 6'6'' right-hander impressed in his first full season as a professional in 2014, going (10-2) with a 2.20 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, 28 walks (2.57 BB/9) and 110 Ks (10.10 K/9) in 20 starts and 98 innings pitched.
According to MLB.com's scouting report on Giolito, the right-hander already has "three above-average offerings":
"His fastball sits in the mid to upper 90s and has touched 100 mph. He throws his 12-to-6 curveball with a lot of power, and it is nearly as good as his fastball. He has made strides with his changeup, turning it into a true weapon against left-handers."
In selecting Giolito in spite of his injury in June 2012, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters that in the final assessment, it was worth the risk.
"We weighed the risk against the reward," Rizzo explained. "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 in his professional career, Giolito's shown it was a risk worth taking.
Joining Giolito on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list for 2015 are 23-year-old outfielder Michael Taylor, who landed at no.42, 23-year-old right-hander A.J. Cole at no.52 and the rumored PTBNL in the Nationals' three-team trade with the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays, 21-year-old shortstop prospect Trea Turner, no.62, who will reportedly remain in the Padres' system until he can officially be traded in June.
Check out MLBPipeline.com's full Top 100 Prospects list for 2015 below: