Outfielder Michael A. Taylor and right-hander Lucas Giolito were selected as the Nationals' representatives at next month's All-Star Futures Game, confirmation of both prospects' development and performance this season in the minor leagues.
Taylor, who plays at Class AA Harrisburg, and Giolito, who plays at low-Class A Hagerstown, were named to the U.S. team that will face a World team July 13 at Minnesota's Target Field, two days before MLB's All-Star Game.
The 23-year-old Taylor has been tearing up the Eastern League, hitting .333 with 17 homers, 52 RBI, 19 stolen bases and a .997 OPS in 70 games with Harrisburg. The lanky center fielder, the Nationals' sixth-round draft pick in 2009, has already established a new career-high in home runs while raising his OPS more than 200 points over its previous high mark.
Taylor is a candidate to be promoted to Class AAA Syracuse at some point this summer, as well as a candidate to play center field for the Nationals sometime in the not-too-distant future, with club officials debating several long-term possibilities beyond this season.
Giolito, 19, will be among the youngest and least-experienced players in the Futures Game. He's one of only two players on the U.S. roster who have yet to advance beyond low-Class A, along with Orioles pitcher Hunter Harvey.
Drafted 16th overall in the country by the Nationals in 2012 despite the knowledge he had an elbow injury, Giolito had Tommy John surgery later that summer but has come back strong in his first full season since recovering from the torn ligament. The 6-foot-6 right-hander, whose fastball has topped 100 mph, sports a 2.59 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings at Hagerstown.