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.

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

– TD at Totals 4 You

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Young Guns – A. J. Cole

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! Your 2015 edition of our Young Guns series, where we look at rookie pitchers entering the Majors, continues today as the Washington Nationals debut their 4th rookie of April as A.J. Cole gets the start tonight in place of Max Scherzer (thumb injury) in Atlanta…

Originally drafted by the Nationals in the 4th round of the 2010 draft, he was shipped to the Athletics (could my team produce just half the pitching talent of Oakland or Washington?!) in the Gio Gonzales trade before making his way back to the Nation’s capitol in a 3-way deal in 2013. The consensus top-100 prospect has thrived with both organizations and at all levels, proving he was soon ready for a shot at the show especially over the last 3 years at AA and AAA ball where his command of a slurve and breaker can now effectively balance the 95 MPH fastball.

Spanning 2013-2014 at AA Harrisburg, Cole posted a 10-5 mark and a 2.63 ERA over 116 1/3 innings, striking out 110 and walking 25. Over 2014 and this season at AAA Syracuse his mark is perfect at 7-0 over 78 innings with a 3.23 ERA with 60 K versus 18 BB. A real plus for this youngster is a strong attitude and ability to keep his cool working out of a jam but there are issues to keep an eye on.

At 6’5″, A.J. is probably a few pounds short of his listed 200 pounds and is still filling into his frame. A problem many would envy but don’t expect him to go very deep in games at this point. A more important issue is the homers allowed. 11 taters in 78 AAA innings and, during his 7 innings with the Nationals this Spring, all 3 of Cole’s allowed runs were solo shots – probably owed to the still-developing off-speed pitches.

Washington fans are probably scratching their heads why Tanner Roark (presently in the bullpen) didn’t get this shot but A.J. Cole is a damn fine prospect we have been anticipating. His fielding has improved to this level (1 error in 57 chances at AAA), he’s worked up his stick work (4 hits in 17 AB at AAA), and his easy velocity on the mound is evident. Good luck tonight, kid!

For tonight’s free selection visit the TOTALS 4 YOU HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

MLB on FOX Lineup!!!

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans!

Superb lineup on FOX today from the Major Leagues, start times 3:05 EST.

Coverage is regional with Cardinals @ Braves, Mets @ Nationals, and Angels @ Athletics taking today’s main stage.

The Los Angeles @ Oakland game is an absolute beauty and is the target of your one and only 2013 AL West Watch & Win Total of the Year!

Check it out plus pick up today’s Free Selection from your Totals Experts at the Totals 4 You Homepage

– TD at Totals 4 You