Prospect Watch: Lucas Giolito

Byline BraydenLucas Giolito was drafted with the 16th overall pick by the Washington Nationals in June of 2012 out of Harvard-Westlake High School in Southern California. Standing at 6 feet, 6 inches tall, the hard-throwing righty was well under way for his future in baseball.

After signing, Giolito pitched for the Nationals’ rookie level team. In his first pro start, Giolito notched two innings, giving up one run (earned) on two hits and no walks, and struck out one before he felt a sharp pain in his pitching elbow. The Nats top prospect had to undergo Tommy John Surgery after making just one appearance to begin his professional career.

Lucas GGiolito began rehabbing in Florida soon afterward, where he shared a hotel room with injured catcher Spencer Kieboom. Both Giolito and Kieboom were not far in their pro careers when they needed Tommy John Surgery. They rehabbed together in Florida and became friends.

Later on, Giolito finally got back to pitching regularly for the Nationals’ rookie team in 2013. He pitched in eight games for the rookie affiliate, going 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA. Shortly afterward, Giolito was promoted to Class-A Short-Season Auburn to play for the Doubledays.

He finished the season with Auburn pitching in three games with a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 0.64 in 14 innings of work.

In 2014, the Nationals announced Giolito would pitch for the Class-A Full-Season Hagerstown Suns. The Suns had been an affiliate with the Nationals since 2007 and has had many prospects and rehabbing big leaguers come to the small historical town.

Giolito made his Suns debut on April 5 against the Rome Braves (Braves affiliate). Giolito pitched three innings giving up six hits, four runs (three earned), two walks and three strikeouts in front of a small crowd of 509 as the Suns lost to the Braves, 9-8.

Giolito rebounded in his first road start for Hagerstown. He pitched on April 10, going six innings giving up one hit, on runs, walking one and striking out six. Giolito got the win as the Suns beat the Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies), 6-0.

Part of Giolito’s success is from having a familiar face behind the plate. His catcher was his rehabbing partner, Spencer Kieboom. Oddly enough, these two live together once again as they both received the same host family.

Kieboom has been behind the plate for most of Giolito’s starts and the two have done well together this season. Kieboom is hitting .308 with seven home runs and 52 RBIs in 76 games this season as the Suns’ starting catcher. Giolito is 9-2 with a 2.23 ERA, 28 walks and 105 strikeouts in 19 starts.

One of Giolito’s best starts came at home on July 25 against the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox). Giolito only pitched six innings and gave up one hit as he walked none and struck out seven and was the winning pitcher in a 5-1 Suns win.

Another great start came in Charleston, South Carolina against the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) on July 31. Again, Giolito pitched six innings but he gave up only two hits, no runs again, walked one and struck out six. That was back-to-back quality starts from Giolito.

If Giolito pitches on normal four days of rest for the remainder of the season, he’ll will make three more starts for the Suns all on the road as the minor league regular season ends on Labor Day, September 1. Giolito was scheduled to make his next start on tonight at Lakewood.

Baltimore Birds Presents The Beltway Sports Report (Ep. 3)

Jonathan Munshaw and Matt Hamilton discuss how Tyler Clippard, Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz did during the All-Star game, why the Home Run Derby was lacking this year and the moves that the Washington Wizards have made so far in free agency (recorded on Wednesday, July 16).

Check out the latest episode of The Beltway Sports Report.

Orioles vs. Nationals: Rivalry or not?

In honor of the last game in the Beltway Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, we figured we’d bring in our resident Orioles and Nationals experts to take the status of how each teams’ fans view the other. Will there be smack talk? You’ll have to find out.

MattHamiltonHeadshot

Byline MattWhen I sit at home, I realize it’s 7:05 p.m: time for Orioles baseball. I change the channel to 247 (for Comcast users in Harford County) and up pops a Nationals game. I scowl at the TV and think to myself: Why are THEY on MASN? Why do the Orioles have to play on MASN 2?

That’s how I feel about the Nationals. And I have a feeling that many around Baltimore feel this same way. The Nationals are our neighbors to the South, and we don’t mind them for most of the year. However, when they get in our way of watching our team on MASN, then we have a problem.

Does that make it a rivalry? Or is it more of hatred of inconvenience?

I’d go for the latter in this instance. I sure don’t hate any Nationals players not named Bryce Harper and I sure don’t cheer against the Nationals. But I swear, there’s a certain fury that engulfs me when I see the Nationals playing on MASN.

The same goes for when the Nationals are successful; I’m not a big fan. However, it wasn’t a problem from when the team started in 2005 through the 2011 season. The Nationals and Orioles were equally awful and I mean awful. Neither team had a winning season and Washington finished with 100+ wins twice in that span.

However, the 2012 season changed everything for Washington and Baltimore. The Nationals won their division and the Orioles made it to the ALDS via the Wild Card game. It was the Nationals best year in their eight years of existence and I got a little jealous after the World Series predictions.

I saw Nationals fans begin to pop up around the DC area; ones that were Orioles fans by default in the years before their city had a baseball team. There was a uprising of Nattiude and I was not happy about it.

So when the Nationals lost tragically in Game 5 of the ALDS to the St. Louis Cardinals, I couldn’t help but feel a little relief. We wanted excitement in the Baltimore-Washington region, but we didn’t want DC to have it all.

It sounds a lot like I’m spewing hate towards Washington; that’s not entirely true. I can travel down to DC and cheer on the Nationals (especially our pal Nate McLouth). I might even vote for Anthony Rendon for the All-Star game, because I simply like the way he plays.

I love watching Stephen Strasburg strike batters out. It’s something I wish the Orioles could find.

See? I wish the Nationals the best. I want them to be good, just not too good.

Is it a rivalry? No, but if we make the World Series, it sure will be!

Gabby

Byline GabbyAs a Nationals fan, I can’t honestly say that I think of the Orioles as serious enemies or rivals. This whole Battle of the Beltway thing seems like something made up to make us hate each other. I mean yeah, they are the closest team to us, but we only play them once a year.

Now going to a school in the Baltimore area, I have to defend my Nationals in a sea of O’s fans. I love joking to my friends who like them that I want them to lose, but honestly (unless they are playing the Nats) I don’t care about them.

But I have to say, those of us not from Baltimore aren’t a huge fan of the “O” thing you all do during the National Anthem. I am going to a game in August, and I was told that I have to, “sing the O really loud during the National Anthem.” No, I’m OK.

Also, some people have this weird view on Baltimore culture. People like to claim that seeing “The Wire” contributes to their beliefs. They think it’s dirty and scary. And you know it might be both of those things, but I still like it!

I cannot speak for every single Nationals fan when I say the Orioles aren’t that important to us. However, the hype that builds up when they play each other is pretty high and makes me feel like they are a huge rival. But think about it, is it only because we are 38 miles away from each other?

I think we can all agree though that a Nats vs. Orioles World Series would be pretty amazing though!

Is it a rivalry? No.

Baltimore Birds presents: The Beltway Sports Report – Episode 2

Jon Munshaw and Matt Hamilton discuss the one game played (and one delayed) so far of the Battle of the Beltway between the Nationals and Orioles, as well as Bryce Harper’s slump, the future of Nelson Cruz in Baltimore and local players competing in the NBA Summer League.

Check out the latest episode of The Beltway Sports Report.