Nationals first-round pick Lucas Giolito, the 16th overall pick in the June 4 draft, was at Nationals Park for Friday’s game against the New York Yankees. The 17-year old right-hander with a 100-mph fastball and elbow injury history looked every bit of his listed 6 feet 6 inches as he stood behind the batting cage chatting with General Manager Mike Rizzo and principal owner Mark Lerner.
Giolito even grinned as he whipped out his cellphone to snap photos of another teenager, Bryce Harper, taking batting practice.
Nationals officials will try to convince Giolito to sign with them by the July 13 deadline. The teenager is committed to play college baseball at UCLA, which offers leverage in his negotiations with the Nationals. Because of his potential, Giolito will command a significant signing bonus, likely larger than the $2.125 million recommended by Major League Baseball.
Giolito, a right-handed power pitcher from Harvard-Westlake High in Studio City, Calif., spent most of the year as a possible No. 1 overall pick, but a strained ligament in his pitching elbow moved him down draft boards.