According to this very short report by ESPN.com’s Keith Law, Washington Nationals 2012 first round draft pick Lucas Giolito has re-injured his right elbow and will be examined by renown orthopedic specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum this week to determine the severity of the injury.
Giolito was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft and the Nats were widely lauded for the pick. Giolito has a big frame and three plus pitches as a high school senior, but a minor tear in one of his elbow ligaments cut his season short. Still, his talent was too immense for GM Mike Rizzo to pass on him when he was available with the 16th pick.
After the draft, Rizzo said, “We did our homework and our due diligence on his health and his makeup. And we decided this is the type of player, the type of stuff and the type of ceiling we want here in the Washington Nationals organization.”
“When he’s 100 percent, he goes top three in this draft,” Nationals scouting director Kris Kline said. “It’s kind of a no-brainer.”
Giolito pitched last week for the Nats entry in the Gulf Coast League and threw two innings, but apparently the discomfort he had in the spring resurfaced.
Giolito, 6’6″, 230, has the size and talent to be a top of the rotation starter. He just turned 18 in July. Even if the worst-case scenario plays out and Giolito needs reconstruction, the recovery and rehab probably won’t alter his projection or timeline that much. The Nats have traditionally been very careful with their top prospect arms in their first full season as a professional, especially high school arms and, as such, Giolio probably would not have pitched above Low-A next year anyway.
Elbow surgery does not carry the kiss of death it once did. The Nats have experience dealing with the issues surrounding the procedure. We shouldn’t put the cart before the horse yet, but if Giolito does require Tommy John surgery, it should in no way diminish the excitement around his potential.