In his first full season after returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in 2012, 19-going-on-20-year-old Washington Nationals' 2012 1st Round pick Lucas Giolito earned the Nats' 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.
Giolito went (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 for the Low-A Hagerstown Suns, but he was shut down for the season when he reached his innings limit.
With the Nationals closely monitoring his progress, Giolito was held back in Florida early this season, so he made his first start with the Potomac Nationals just last night.
Giolito got two groundball outs and his first K of the season in a quick, 1-2-3 first, and gave up a one-out single before striking out two more to end his second scoreless.
The Frederick Keys got to the right-hander in the third, however, with three singles and a walk by the first four batters and five singles and four runs overall before the inning was over.
Tough 3rd inning for Giolito. Gave up 4 runs on 5 singles and a walk. Did get a strikeout to give him 4 total, all on offspeed. #Nats— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 8, 2015
The Keys added a single and a walks in a scoreless fourth by Giolito, before a one-out double in the fifth ended his outing. The double ended up coming around to score for the final run he was charged with on the night.
Lucas Giolito's Line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 82 P, 50 S.
Giolito wasn't hit as hard as the line indicates. Seven of 8 hits were singles. Last was double that would've been an out but hit 1B bag.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 9, 2015
Giolito spoke to reporters about his 2015 debut after the game.
"It felt good to get out there," he said. "My arm felt great, which is a good thing. It's a positive takeaway. Obviously I wish the results were a little bit better. Fastball command was, in my opinion, awful. Offspeed command wasn't there either. A lot of stuff to work on."
"I felt the curveball was really good early," Giolito continued. "I was throwing it as kind of a strikeout/wipeout pitch, I guess. And then kind of lost feel for it, but the changeup -- I threw the changeup better today than I have been in Florida, where I was, you know, obviously, progressing, so I feel like I need to be better with throwing both the changeup and curveball for strikes in any count."
Asked what he was working on going forward?
"As evident from today," Giolito said, "commanding the fastball better. Whenever any pitcher leaves the fastball up it's going to get hit, and I did that a lot today, so I think that that's probably the main thing. Commanding the fastball and then secondary stuff, throwing it for strikes and then able to throw it low and get outs with it as well."