If Lucas Giolito isn’t in the majors by June then something has gone wrong, a scout tells Jayson Stark of ESPN, Giolito is the number three prospect in the game per ESPN, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com. Giolito features a 98 mph fastball, plus-plus curve, and an above average changeup. Stark and those he’s talked to can’t offer enough praise, throwing around terms like future “superstar” without reservation. The Nationals will hope Giolito can provide the same midseason boost their division rivals enjoyed from Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz last season.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- Mets non-roster invitee Jim Henderson is battling for one of the final bullpen jobs, writes Glenn Sattell of MLB.com. The former closer has missed most of the last two seasons with a shoulder injury. He’s finally healthy, throwing in the 90s, and turning in solid results. With only a couple spots open to competition, Henderson will face stiff competition. The good news for him is this: if he’s really healthy, somebody will have a job for him.
- Former first overall pick Mark Appel may be well served by his recent change of scenery, writes Jim Salisbury of Baseball America. Appel, 25, joined the Phillies organization over the offseason as a part of the Ken Giles trade. Despite well-regarded stuff, a straight fastball and command issues have limited his performance to date. The command has continued to be an issue this spring, but perhaps a new coaching staff can help to add a new perspective. My own two cents – the comparison between Appel and former first overall pick Luke Hochevar is an easy one. Hochevar didn’t unlock his talent until he transitioned to relief. Appel may also benefit from such a move, and he could have the necessary stuff to switch back to starting like Carlos Carrasco.
- A couple Braves trade acquisitions are turning heads, writes J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. Touki Toussaint joined Atlanta as compensation for taking on Bronson Arroyo’s salary. While his stuff continues to impress, command and control issues plague him. He’s described as possessing a quality fastball, curve, and change. Meanwhile, Sean Newcomb has shown better strikeout stuff throughout his minor league career. Acquired in the Andrelton Simmons trade, Newcomb also has a history of shaky command.