Height/Weight: 6’6”/240 lbs
High School: Harvard Westlake (Calif.)
College Commitment: UCLA
One of the nation’s top pitching prospects headed into the 2012 season, Giolito affirmed his potential as No. 1 overall draft pick by pumping 95-99 mph fastballs and dominating top-notch competition earlier this spring. However, the right-hander has been sidelined since early March after spraining his UCL and has become one of the biggest gambles in the 2012 draft class. He’s begun throwing flat-ground sessions, though he’ll need to be able to perform for scouts to be a top pick.
A UCLA commit, Giolito’s injury has scared teams enough to question drafting him. At the same time, his arm and arsenal—including a double-plus breaking ball and a solid-to-average changeup—are so impressive that the right-hander is a gamble worth taking.
Although he may not possess the baseball bloodlines like some other players in the 2012 draft class, Giolito’s family is well known within the entertainment realm: His mother is actress Lindsay Frost and his father, Rick, is the former Vice President of Electronic Arts and co-founder of Trilogy Studios.
Due to his blazing fastball and wipeout breaking ball, Giolito has drawn comparisons to Kerry Wood—though he has the chance to be ultimately far more polished by the time he reaches the major league level. Provided that there are no ongoing issues with his elbow, Giolito could debut by the 2015 or 2016 season.
The Nationals went high-risk and, they hope, high-reward by taking Giolito with the 16th overall pick. If he pans out, despite the arm-ligament injury that has kept him out of action in 2012, he'll add to the Nationals' impressive array of young players.
In the 2009 and 2010 two drafts, Washington had the No. 1 overall picks, taking pitcher Stephen Strasburg (2009) and outfielder Bryce Harper (2010), both of whom are now in the majors.
After he was chosen, Giolito was compared by the analysts on MLB TV to Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay.
On a personal note, he said in a mini-profile by MLB Network that he eats French toast and sausage the morning of every start.
One other note of trivia: Giolito is a high-school teammate of Max Fried, who was chosen at No. 7 in the 2012 first round.