By Doug McKinneyCSNwashington.com
Brian Oliver runs the popular blog Nationals Farm Authority which tracks the next wave of talent in the Washington farm system. Check his stuff out here.
CSN: The Nationals selected Lucas Giolito with the 16th pick overall in the 2012 MLB Draft. While the HS power pitcher was injured for most of this past season, the medical reports coming back on Giolito are that nothing is structurally wrong with him and actually, he has been throwing from at least 60 feet. Talent-wise, some experts say the Nats got the best arm in the draft. What are your thoughts on the selection and what kind of ceiling could he have?
NFA: It was a great & gutsy move by Rizzo. Picking at 16, the Nationals were likely to potentially get a solid though not spectacular player. All things being equal (and healthy) Giolito was a top 3 guy. The Nats went with the one guy who was discussed as a potential 1 SP.
CSN: With that said, do the Nationals and Giolito agree to a deal before the deadline?
NFA: Yes. Once the Nats sign 3rd round pick Brett Mooneyham and 7th round pick Robert Benincasa, they'll have their max bonus (likely 3.2M). At that point, the ball's in Giolito's court. I think at the end of the day, he takes a top 5 bonus and gets his pro career started.
CSN: Are there any other selections that you think could be sleepers? What names should Nats fans be keeping a close eye on?
NFA: Of the guys that signed so far, there aren't any high ceiling guys. The players I am going to watch are Tony Renda (2nd round 2B) and Stephen Perez (8th round SS). Middle infielders are always in demand.
CSN: We haven't had a chance to talk much about them, but have what Steve Lombardozzi and (to a lesser extent) Tyler Moore done at the Major League level impressed you? Could the two find their way into Davey Johnson's line-up permanently?
NFA: Definitely Lombardozzi. He seemed destined for a utility spot but has, to date, shown a bit more than that. I'm not sure it's sustainable over the long term but he has earned a chance to play more than just utility time. Moore is another guy who has some upside but more than likely as a bench bat. His RH power is something valuable for Johnson to use. I'd imagine their performances will encourage him to use both guys more often.
CSN: If Nats fans wanted a breather from Major League action, which minor league affiliate would you recommend as must see this summer?
NFA: Right now Hagerstown with Matt Skole, Brian Goodwin, Alex Meyer & Matt Purke (injured), they have the best collection of higher ceiling guys.