A Live Look at Lucas Giolito

Lucas Giolito has a chance to become the first right-handed high school pitcher to be taken first overall in the draft. Following a productive summer, including a dominant performance at the Perfect Game All American Classic, he enters the spring as the top prep pitcher in the nation. After watching his first start of 2012, I can say that he's the real deal.

Physical Description

Even as a 17 year old, Giolito stands out in a crowd. He's every bit of his listed height of 6'6 and his 230 pound frame is athletic and imposing. He has long arms, thick legs and broad shoulders. He reminds me of John Lackey.

Mechanics

For such a young pitcher, Luke has very clean mechanics. His arm works free and easy, giving him some deception. He takes a good stride towards the plate and gets excellent extension, allowing his pitches to play up because he releases them closer to the plate. There's little effort, which is impressive for a guy who throws as hard as he does.

Stuff

Giolito's best pitch is his plus-plus fastball. After touching 98 in the first inning, he was 94-96 in the second while touching 97, then settled in at 93-95 over the next two outings. He held his velocity while in the stretch as well. What separates the pitch from other good fastballs is its movement, boring down and in on righties, especially when he works it inside. He stays down in the zone and induced lots of groundballs.

His breaking ball was an 83-85 mph slider with very good depth, seemingly diving down and away from righties at the last second. It's not a true slider but it's at least above average and he displays at least average command of it.

Unlike many high school pitchers, Lucas did show a changeup in this outing. It was in the low 80s and showed decent sink and fade. He doesn't really need the pitch and it is his third best offering, but it does show the potential to be at least an average pitch down the road.

Summary

Overall, Giolito has everything you look for in a prep pitcher. He has the arm strength, the breaking ball, the mechanics and the command to be one of the better prospects in all of baseball. I wouldn't be surprised if he supplants Mark Appel as the #1 prospect on many boards between now and June. Barring injury, he's a Top 3 pick.