Jul 25, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
The Nationals have promoted top prospect Lucas Giolito to Class AA Harrisburg, deeming the 21-year-old right-hander ready to start pitching at the upper levels of their farm system.
Giolito, recently named the No. 1 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, went 3-5 with a 2.71 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) for Class A Potomac over the season’s first half, striking out 86 batters in 69 2/3 innings.
He also earned the starting assignment for the All-Star Futures Game two weeks ago in Cincinnati, tossing two scoreless innings for Team USA.
The Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft (16th overall), Giolito was selected despite knowledge of a potentially serious elbow injury. He had Tommy John surgery later that summer to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and missed most of 2013 but has come back since healthy and dominant.
In 45 total minor-league games (43 starts), Giolito is 15-8 with a 2.38 ERA, striking out 236 batters over 206 1/3 innings.
Though the Nationals are being somewhat aggressive in promoting Giolito to Class AA at this stage of his professional career, they’re still monitoring his workload closely. As they do with every young pitcher in the organization, even more so those who had major arm surgeries, the Nationals are limiting Giolito’s innings count.
After totaling 98 innings last season at low-Class A Hagerstown, he is expected to be held to roughly 120-to-130 innings this season, then be held to roughly 150-to-160 innings next season, even if he reaches the majors.
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