2009: Stephen Strasburg
2010: Bryce Harper
2011: Anthony Rendon
2012: Lucas Giolito
2 were slam dunk 1st overall picks. 2 were viewed as potential 1st overall picks before dropping due to injury concerns. All 4 were considered among the most elite talent in their respective drafts (and in most cases were the most elite players involved). Strasburg and Harper are already doing great things in the Majors. Can Giolito follow them, or will his injury further plague him like Anthony Rendon?
Giolito will be far from a slam dunk to sign, first of all. He has a strong commitment to UCLA and was thought to have been seeking #1 overall money. The Nats can't pay him anywhere near that, but could cut costs in rounds 2-10 by taking a bunch of junior college players and college seniors with little leverage and signing them for $50-100k. The Nats will likely be able to cut enough elsewhere to give Giolito an offer in the $3.5 mil range. Will he accept?
Some notes and quotes on Giolito:
"He had hit 100 mph in his last outing before the injury and would sit 93-98 in most outings, showing better late life on the pitch and better command within the zone, losing some of his former tendency to give up hard contact on fastballs in the zone. His curveball is sharp and he changes its shape, throwing some with typical two-plane break and others with shorter more slider-like action, mostly in the 83-86 mph range. He'll flash a changeup but it's clearly his third option, probably the main thing he'll need to work on in pro ball. Giolito might have been a candidate to go first overall before a tender elbow ended his high school season in March; tests were uniformly negative, showing no ligament or tendon damage, and he's expected to be able to throw for teams before the draft." - ESPN.com scouting report (more to the scouting report if you click the link)
"Giolito has a golden right arm. His fastball sits firmly in the 93-95 MPH range, and was clocked at 100 MPH during his first start of 2012. The ball explodes out of his hand, and flat-out overpowers opposing hitters. Beyond his heater, Giolito is armed with a nasty breaking ball and a game-worthy changeup. He throws his breaking pitch with variable velocity. He’ll drop it in the zone for knee-buckling strikes at 80-84 MPH early in the count, and will spike it in the dirt at 86-88 MPH and wipe-out opposing batters when he’s ahead, with two strikes." - Ryan Kelley, Baseball News Hound (more to the scouting report if you click the link)
"This Southern California native combines a great frame and a fluid delivery with some of the best stuff in the draft class, including a fastball that has touched 100 MPH, a strong power curve and a changeup that has shown potential. At 6’6 220 lbs, Giolito will be able to add some weight to his somewhat wiry frame, which should allow him to add velocity to his already impressive arsenal." - Chase, Padres Prospects
Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball estimated Giolito's chances of going to UCLA as 50/50 on May 25.
Garrioch's thoughts on Giolito: "He tips his curve. He has imperfect mechanics but he has #1 starter potential. Only about 10 guys in the minors have that potential, maybe less. That is why he is #1 (on my board)."
Bullpen Banter has 4 videos of Lucas Giolito in their extensive video index.