Lucas Giolito, prep pitching sensation turned top draft pick, headed for Tommy John surgery

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Earlier in August, Prep Rally reported on top baseball prospect Lucas Giolito, whose professional future was cast into doubt by his very first pro appearance in the Gulf Coast League.

Harvard Westlake pitching sensation Lucas Giolito — Eric Dearborn photography
Harvard Westlake pitching sensation Lucas Giolito — Eric Dearborn photography

Now it seems that the injury Giolito apparently suffered just two innings into his career truly really did set the wheels in motion on a worst-case scenario, with the 18-year-old pitcher heading for Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.

Giolito's final pitching statistics from his first professional season: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 K. His single outing earned an ERA of 4.50.

Where Giolito's future runs from here remains to be seen. According to the Los Angeles Times, Giolito will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday, 17 days after his lone professional start. In fairness, Tommy John surgery was long a realistic possibility, from the time that the fireballer first sprained his UCL early in his final high school season.

At the time, Giolito opted against surgery in favor of rehab, perhaps to protect his value in the draft. It would be impossible to fault him for that move, particularly in the aftermath of the $2.9 million signing bonus he negotiated with the Nationals.

Now he's facing precisely that surgery, and the subsequent grueling rehab that will test his resolve to become the ace pitcher that he was projected as when he was the clear-cut top high school pitcher in the market just 12 months ago.

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