Hagerstown right-hander Lucas Giolito, the Nationals’ top prospect, was named the South Atlantic League pitcher of the week for the second time this season after throwing six almost-perfect innings Friday. Giolito allowed an infield single to Kannapolis’s leadoff hitter and then retired 18 consecutive batters.
The start, and the honor, continued a dominant season for Giolito, the 20-year-old flame-thrower in the final stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery. In 77 innings at Class Low-A, Giolito has struck out 88 hitters with a 1.00 WHIP and a 2.34 ERA.
The Nationals chose Giolito with the 16th pick in the 2012 draft after he fell because of concerns about his elbow. By consensus, Giolito is considered one of the top 20 prospects in all of baseball and one of the five best pitching prospects.
The Nationals have limited Giolito’s innings this season. At the Futures Game in Minnesota prior to the All-Star Game, Giolito said he assumed he throw between 100 and 110 innings this season.
In another minor league note, the Oakland A’s promoted outfielder Billy Burns to the majors. The Nationals traded Burns, one of the fastest players in professional baseball, to the A’s for left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins in December. At Class AA this year, Burns has stolen 51 bases in 56 attempts and hit .250.