What the Giolito injury means

Giolito, Lucas

As I’m sure most of you have heard by now, Lucas Giolito sprained his ulnar collateral ligament and will likely be out for the rest of the season. ┬áThe right-handed pitcher out of Harvard-Westlake in California is the No.1 player on my new board, and many believe that he is a candidate to be the first ever prep right-hander to be selected with the first overall pick.

Let me say this first; I had the opportunity to interview Giolito for an article on his teammate Max Fried for ESPNHS, and he’s a great kid, with a great family, so with absolutely no journalistic integrity, I’ll say that the injury disheartens me quite a bit. I never like to see anyone get hurt, but when it’s someone as grounded and personable and you get to talk to them, it just makes you a little more sick.

What this does to the draft-class — and lets face it, that’s why you’re reading this article — might make teams just as sick, unfortunately. This was not a top-heavy group to begin with, and the injury to Giolito potentially makes it significantly weaker. Prep-pitching is the biggest risk in the draft; and there’s no reason to demand — or even expect — a club to spend their resources on a player that just had their season end due to injury.

With that being said, it is “only” a sprain, and it’s an injury that we’ve seen players recover from. Teams will do their homework, and if a club believes that this is a short-term injury, Giolito will still be a top five pick. Keep in mind that the right-hander is a strong commit to UCLA, and we’ve seen talented arms spurn the draft and do just fine (see Bauer and Cole). In other words, don’t expect the injury to all of a sudden make Giolito sign for under-slot, as there’s a good fallback plan if teams aren’t willing to ante up.

It’s still light-years away, but the injury to Giolito will have a major impact at the top of this draft, and that’s disappointing.

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