For a 17-year-old who just finished high school last week, Lucas Giolito comes across as extremely bright and well-spoken. It certainly can't hurt that the Nationals' first-round draft pick comes from a family used to being in the spotlight (his mother, Lindsay Frost, has appeared in dozens of TV shows; his uncle, Mark Frost, co-created the series Twin Peaks; and his grandfather, Warren Frost, played George Costanza's would-be father-in-law on Seinfeld (had George's fiance, of course, not died from licking too many toxic wedding invitation envelopes).
If nothing else, Giolito seemed at ease speaking to baseball writers on a conference call a few minutes ago ... at least, during the parts where the phone connection was clear. He expressed confidence that his strained elbow isn't an issue, expressed surprise and elation that he was drafted by the Nationals and said he tries to emulate Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg.
Here are some highlights from the right-hander's session with us...
Q: How are you doing health-wise, and what can do currently do?
"I've had some of the best doctors around treat me, and I'm feeling really good. I'm confident this issue is behind me. I'm been throwing on flat ground, I've been getting it out really far, so far I'm around 280-300 feet long-toss, and then I come back in. I'm throwing pretty hard from 60 feet on flat ground. There's no decision on what I'll do this summer, but I'm looking forward to pitching soon."
Q: Were you expecting to be drafted higher, and what did you think when you heard from the Nats?
"I really had no idea where I was going to go off the board. I was sitting there, and I was sitting with my family and close friends, and it was really just a huge surprise to get taken by such a great organization. The way everything happened, it just kind of struck me and I was speechless. It was just an awesome moment."
Q: Is there any chance the elbow issue would turn into something that would need surgery?
"I've never discussed that with my doctors. In my eyes until something like that happens ... I'm feeling really good right now."
Q: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher?
"I really like to throw my fastball a lot and bust people in, and then maybe come back with my curveball. I've been developing my changeup a lot, so that's obviously a tool that I'll be able to use. Just a combination of everything to be able to attack hitters and do everything I can to help the team win."
Q: Knowing your family's background in Hollywood, was that ever an option for you?
"It was never really an option for me. I've always played baseball, I've always played sports. But yeah, my mom's side of the family, it's a big kind of writing-acting, that type of art environment. Even my little brother has kind of gotten into that. He's been in musicals the last couple years in middle school. But it's never really been something I've been interested in. I've always been interested in baseball."
Q: How important is it for you to sign?
"Well, if it was right, I'd say pro ball. But obviously I committed to UCLA for a reason. It's one of the best baseball programs. ... Obviously UCLA is a really big option for me, and we'll see how everything plays out."
Q: What baseball players do you like and try to emulate?
"Definitely Justin Verlander has become someone I try to emulate and really pitch like, especially watching him last year in his MVP season. In the Nationals organization, definitely Stephen Strasburg. The way he goes about pitching is the same kind of thing I want to do."