Young Guns – Lucas Giolito

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! Welcome to a fresh edition of your Young Guns series where we give you a heads-up on baseball’s top pitching prospects making their jumps to the Big Leagues. Today we take a look at a very prominent talent, Lucas Giolito, who is currently ranked by many sites as the very Top-Rated Minor League Player and will get his first start for Washington Tuesday night at Nationals Park…

Lucas was projected to go #1 overall in the 2012 Draft but fell to the Nationals at 16th over elbow injury concerns and, after signing the day before his 18th birthday, underwent Tommy John surgery. A strong and timely recovery made way for 11 appearances in 2013, earning a 2014 promotion and a full season with A-Hagerstown where he dazzled with a 2.20 ERA over 20 starts, pairing 100 strikeouts with 28 walks. The South Atlantic League’s pitching MVP Award and an invite to the All-Stars Futures Game were to follow.

The 21-year-old rightie advanced again in 2015 with time at both high-A Potomac and AA-Harrisburg, posting a 3.15 ERA over those 117 innings, allowing 113 hits and just 3 homers. This season at AA-Harrisburg he’s matched those numbers with a 3.17 ERA over 71 innings, allowing 67 hits but control has been more spotty with 34 walks to go with 72 punch-outs. Lucas is coming off maybe the worst start of his pro career with 5 earned and 7 hits over just 4 2/3.

This is a Big Guy with Big Stuff. Giolito is 6’6″ and 255 pounds, bringing a fastball that has touched 100 MPH. According to Statcast this combination of release point and velocity gave hitters at the 2015 Futures Game just .38 seconds from release to plate, competitive with the very best in the Majors. Add a big-breaking 12-6 power curve plus an improving change and it’s no wonder ONLY 13 HOMERS have been hit off this kid through 324 2/3 minor league innings!

Of course the safe path for me when evaluating these youngsters is to down-play expectations but Lucas Giolito is simply the bluest of chips. The stuff is unquestionably dominating and, as a son of a prominent Hollywood family in Studio City, he’s unlikely to be shaken by the big stage. His downsides are holding runners, fielding, and occasional control problems – common to most his age.

With Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL again and Gio Gonzales struggling, Giolito has a legitimate shot to hang around in The Bigs but the Nationals are known as very disciplined when it comes to managing the innings of their pitchers. Expect maybe 20 or 25 more than his 117 of last season and 71 are already in this season’s books. I can’t wait for the show tonight in the Nation’s Capitol, first pitch at 7:05 EST.

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– TD at Totals 4 You

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Young Guns – Jameson Taillon

Hello, Sports Fans! Through the heart of the Major League season we will be seeing a bunch of young pitchers getting their first call to the Big Leagues and their promotions can provide some great opportunities. First up in our “Young Guns” series for 2016 is the much-anticipated call-up of RHP Jameson Taillon, starting for the Pirates Wednesday evening…

The 24-year-old Tailison caught the attention of scouts very early and an 8-1 High School Senior Year that included a 19-strikeout shutout performance convinced the Pirates to use the 2010 Major League Draft’s 2nd-overall pick on him, ahead of such talent as Matt Harvey and Chris Sale. Productive early years in the Minor Leagues earned accolades like an invite to the 2012 All-Star Futures Game plus a spot on Team Canada’s (dual citizenship) squad for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

In April 2014 came the setback of Tommy John Surgery for ligament damage in his throwing elbow. That rehab plus a hernia cost Jameson all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. His return this season to Indianapolis of the AAA International League has been nothing short of stellar. In 61 2/3 innings over 10 starts Taillon has allowed just 44 hits and 2 homers, yielding a skimpy 2.04 ERA. Best of all, the kid matched 61 punch-outs with just 6 walks. SIX WALKS!

The rightie certainly looks the part of a Strasburg-like prospect at 6’5″ and 240 pounds and he brings the stuff to match. A 4-seam fastball clocked up to 99 MPH, and a 2-seamer in the 93-96 range to grab some ground ball outs. A sharp power-curve and a circle change-up – all of which he can throw for strikes.

Flatly, the kid’s got the goods but, according to Manager Clint Hurdle, even if he shuts down the Big League bats there may not be a slot for him in a pretty good existing rotation (starters 13th at 4.20 ERA). Sounds like managing expectations to me but, either way, we won’t miss a pitch of Jameson Taillon’s debut against the Mets Wednesday night at PNC Park, first pitch 7:05 EST.

Pick up Tonight’s Free Selection at the Totals 4 You HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

Young Guns – Eddie Butler

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans!

Over the last few years we have tinkered with a series we call “Young Guns” in which we take a look at rookie major league pitchers to give you a peek at their prospects for the Major Leagues. Fortunately, over the seasons, we’ve given a heads up on some real gems that have become household names and this season we open up with Eddie Butler of the Colorado Rockies who makes his 2015 tonight at Miller Park in Milwaukee…

Following a couple years at Radford College in his home state of Virginia, this righty was drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Rockies. Quickly progressing through the ranks has posted 135 innings at AA ball with 117 hits, 88 strike outs, 38 walks with a 2.99 ERA and 1.143 WHIP.

Like many top prospects, Butler made just a brief stop at AAA before making his first Major League start June 6th of last season (pitchers are generally classified as rookies until 50 innings in the Majors). He managed 3 starts around a trip to the DL with shoulder inflammation, posting a 6.75 ERA with 23 hots in 16 innings. In the off-season, Eddie added about 15 pounds to boost his strength but spring ball hasn’t been much better with a 5.29 ERA over 16 innings while again battling the shoulder.

The good news is this kid has got a great combination of stuff. The money pitch is a 2-seam heavy sinking fastball that’s capable of busting lumber. Paired with a 4-seam, 96-MPH rising fastball it can be pretty devastating…when he keeps it down.

On the down side, Butler’s pretty emotionally green or has what Manager Walt Weiss calls “rough edges”. Frankly, if Weiss’s options were a little deeper right now, Eddie would probably still getting more work at AA Tulsa where he delivered a 2.49 ERA over 68 2/3 innings last season.

Overall, the kid’s probably not ready yet for the Bigs but he does face what looks to be a light Brewer lineup tonight and the good thing about playing for a re-building squad like the Rockies is you get your chances. We’ll be keeping an eye on how top-level talent handles his admittedly dynamite stuff…and his shoulder.

Pick up Today’s Free Selection at OUR HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

Steee-Riiike!!!

Thank you, CC! Out of the Major League blocks with victory on your 2013 Major League Opening Day Total of the Year Winner, Red Sox/Yankees Over the Total.

Sabathia did a great job for our Brewers and we wished he would have stayed but slow starts to a season aren’t exactly a surprise. Today he tallied 4 earned runs over 5 innings in the loss on 8 hits and 4 free passes.

Check out Tuesday’s full schedule, odds, injuries, and DAILY FREE SELECTIONS at freeplays.com

Play Ball!!!

By Totals 4 U

Play Ball!!! Opening Day from the Major Leagues goes first pitch today at 1:05 EST with the Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees, coverage on ESPN.

A full slate from sea to shining sea follows for the fans of America’s past-time and you can get the full schedule, match ups, real-time odds, plus TODAY’S FREE SELECTIONS at freeplays.com

Back soon with a break down of a coming college basketball game – TD at Totals 4 You