Giolito is coming off Tommy John surgery, and the Nationals want to make sure he doesn't throw too many innings. He's considered the club's top prospect, and is one of the best pitching prospects in the game despite his inexperience. Giolito has posted a 2.51 ERA in 32 1/3 innings.
"It's the best feeling in the world," Giolito said, per MASNsports.com. "I'm ready to go, I'm ready to get going. It's just great that I was able to persevere through everything. I never had a setback. So it's great."
Prior to getting hurt, Giolito's fastball and curveball were always considered plus-plus pitches. After the surgery, he's developed a third pitch -- changeup -- for his repertoire that could make him even better.
"It just comes out of my hand feeling a lot better and a lot different," Gioltio said. "I really don't know (why). It's just one of those weird, quirky things that happens for some guys that get surgery. I know sometimes a pitch will feel different. But especially for the changeup, I have a lot better feel for it after the surgery.
"I was healthy before the surgery, obviously, in high school, and the changeup was kind of a work-in-progress thing. Now, it just feels like a lot more solid pitch."
Giolito ranked as the team's top prospect according to Baseball America, and there's good reason for the ranking. Giolito was considered to be the top pick in the 2012 draft until arm issues dropped him to the Nationals at 16. Teams were worried Giolito would need Tommy John surgery, and chose to let him fall. While Giolito did undergo the procedure, he's flashed elite skills since his return.
His stuff has graded so well that Williams said Giolito's curveball was the best he had ever seen by a prospect. Williams has worked in baseball since 1979, so that's high praise. Giolito is coming into his first full season after surgery, and is not expected to move too quickly through the organization this year.
Giolito was able to get 11 abbreviated starts under his belt last season after returning from the elbow surgery in 2012. The right-hander was 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP between the Gulf Coast League Nationals (rookie) and Auburn (low Class A). He also struck out 39 in 36 2/3 innings.
The 2012 first-round pick will be reunited with Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson, who was with the GCL Nationals last season.
"He is special," Anderson said. "He was at 93 to 100 mph. He hit 100 mph multiple times. And it was pretty free and easy coming out of his hand. Breaking ball is a plus pitch. He developed a changeup. He did a good job during the instructional league. He was really good. He got moved up."
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 || 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
| 15 |
| 16 |
| 17 |
Nike Washington Nationals Red Team Issue Legend Logo Performance T-shirt Shop Now!