Lucas Giolito was in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft until an elbow injury ended his high school season.
He fell to the Nationals with the 16th overall pick and signed just before the deadline for $2.925 million. And now after just one minor-league start his elbow is injured again.
Keith Law of ESPN.com reports that Giolito was pulled from his debut after two innings because he showed decreased velocity and the right-hander will be examined later this week by Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Elbow surgery wouldn’t be a death sentence for an 18-year-old pitcher, obviously, and the Nationals would probably still have taken Giolito at No. 16 if they knew he’d need to go under the knife. Even after 12 months on the sidelines and the uncertain nature of the recovery in general his upside would still be much higher than a typical mid-first rounder. And clearly they knew it was a strong possibility.