Lucas Giolito Signs with the Washington Nationals

By Kenny DeJohn

Lucas Giolito and the Washington Nationals have finally agreed on a signing bonus, barely making the 4:00 PM deadline on Friday. The bonus is worth $2.925 million, well above the slot recommendation for the No. 16 pick of $2.1 million.

Giolito was previously ranked as the top high school pitcher in the 2o12 MLB Draft, but an elbow injury that he sustained this past March hurt his draft stock a little bit.

Needless to say, when he fell to No. 16, the Nationals did not hesitate in snatching him up.

There’s good reason why he was ranked so high coming out of high school. His fastball has been clocked as high as 99 mph, though it consistently sits between 94 and 96 mph. He features a plus-plus curveball as well as a plus-changeup.

With three above average pitches, he’s well on his way to being a successful major league starter. Staying healthy will be the key, though.

We likely won’t see Giolito until 2014 at the earliest, but his debut will likely be nearly as anticipated as Stephen Strasburg‘s. Just imagine the Nationals’ rotation in a few seasons when they can throw out Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Giolito.

That’s absolutely dominant.

Giolito would likely begin as the No. 4 starter in the rotation, but he has the potential to propel himself up to the No. 2 slot behind Strasburg.

It’s not often that a team finds a pitcher with the stuff like Giolito possesses, and the Nationals could potentially use two of the nastiest pitchers in baseball (Strasburg and Giolito) if the No. 16 overall pick pans out.

For now, Giolito will continue working on his conditioning to get back to 100 percent health and stay there. His young arm is extremely valuable and instantly becomes one of the top arms in the Nationals’ system.

When we see him in a few seasons, expect big things from the big right-hander.

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