WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Washington Nationals selected young right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito of Harvard-Westlake High School in California with the 16th pick in Monday night’s Major League Baseball Draft.
The selection solidifies the team’s commitment to building a strong, homegrown pitching staff. But selecting the 17-year-old fireballer carries with it significant risk.
Giolito, whose fastball has been clocked north of 100 mph, suffered a sprained ulnar collateral nerve in his right elbow during his senior season.
“We just felt that the reward outweighed the risk, and we did our homework and our due diligence on his health and his makeup,” said general manager Mike Rizzo. “We decided that this is the type of player, the type of stuff and the type of ceiling that we want here in Washington and in the Nationals organization.”
The injury undoubtedly cost the 17-year-old more than a handful of positions in the draft. Some scouts felt he would have been a certain top five pick in the draft otherwise.
Giolito is listed at a 6 feet 6 inches and 230 pounds. As a senior he tossed 70 1/3 innings en route to a 9-1 record and 1.00 ERA. He also fanned 78 batters.
Giolito’s Harvard-Westlake teammate Max Fried, a left-handed pitcher, was also selected in the first-round by the San Diego Padres with the seventh overall pick.