With Lucas Giolito getting closer and closer to the majors, the Nationals minor leaguer is continuing to appear on top prospects lists around the baseball world.
The latest is on MLB.com where expert Jim Callis calls him the best right-handed pitching prospect in the game. Giolito was also atop the list last year.
Callis writes that Giolito is "an almost-certain ace with no discernible flaw. Giolito has a fastball that can reach 100 mph, a wipeout curveball and a promising changeup, not to mention command, size and smarts."
That type of talk has to get Nationals fans excited, especially given the fact Giolito could potentially make his MLB debut in 2016. The former first round pick reached Double-A last season and now has 53 minor league appearances under his belt.
Giolito's exact role in 2016 is difficult to project. We know he will be at big league spring training for the first time, but when he will given an opportunity in the majors and how many innings he will be allowed to pitch this season have yet to be determined.
Giolito posted a 3.15 ERA in 21 total outings split between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg last season. He finished with a career-high of 117 innings pitched. He is now over three years removed from Tommy John surgery in 2012, but will likely be on some sort of restriction in 2016.
However Giolito is developed from here, his timing is excellent. Jordan Zimmermann signed away with the Detroit Tigers this winter and Stephen Strasburg is entering a contract year. As long as the Nats can get Giolito ready by Opening Day of 2017, he will immediately become an important part of their starting rotation.