November 21, 2017

Washington Nationals sign first round pick Lucas Giolito just before deadline

The Washington Nationals signed RHP Lucas Giolito, their first round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2012 MLB Draft, the team announced just before Friday’s 5:00 pm EDT deadline. Giolito, 18, is a 6’6″, 230 lb. right-hander that at one point was considered to be the best player in this year’s draft until a UCL strain limited him his final high school season. Giolito went 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings this season at Harvard-Westlake High School in Santa Barbara, CA.

Giolito signed for a reported $2.925 million, which puts them just above the overall draft bonus pool limit. The team will be required to pay a tax for exceeding the cap, but they did not approach the maximum amount which would have required forfeiting a future draft pick.

There was much less fanfare this season around the Giolito signing than in years past. Of course, the last three years the Nats drafted and negotiated with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, all higher-profile players than Giolito. But Giolito was a strong commit to UCLA to play college baseball, so this signing represents a departure from the Nats standard operating procedure.

The Nats top brass were effusive in their praise for Giolito back in June the day they drafted him.

“We did our homework and our due diligence on his health and his makeup,” Nats GM Mike Rizzo said. “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.”

Rizzo added, “He has a power curve that is as good as his fastball. He’s got a feel for pitching. He is not a thrower. He has got a touch. He is coming at you downhill and he is coming hard.”

“A top-of-the-rotation guy that you can get at 16?” assistant general manager Roy Clark said. “Our doctor reports were [that] everything’s fine. It was a no-brainer for us.”

Asked to compare Giolito to a current player, Clark replied, “A good comparison might be Roy Halladay when everything’s clicking,” Clark said. “So we’d take that.” Then, he chuckled.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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