The preseason accolades just continue to roll in for Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito. On Thursday the former first round pick was named the 21st best MLB prospect in Baseball America's annual list.
Giolito, 19, was the only Nationals players listed in BA's Top 100, though A.J. Cole and Brian Goodwin have appeared on rankings compiled by other outlets. Giolito placed 13th on Baseball Prospectus' list and 44th on MLB.com.
Appearing in the top 21 of two of the most respected prospect rankings list out there is quite the honor for Giolito who is still less than a year from his return from Tommy John surgery. Giolito joined the Gulf Coast League Nationals in July and also spent time with the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League. Across 11 total starts he held a 1.96 ERA in 36 2/3 innings.
A 6-foot-6 right-hander, Giolito projects as a top of the rotation starting pitcher. He has strong command of his fastball which reaches upwards of 100 miles per hour.
The Nationals took Giolito with the 16th pick of the 2012 MLB Draft despite concerns about an injury to his elbow. He had Tommy John surgery in August of 2012 and has since made a convincing return. By this time next year he could be slotted even higher on prospect rankings.