Top HS Prospect Lucas Giolito Out For Season

For those following the prospects for the upcoming draft, there’s some pretty huge breaking news that just came down from Baseball America:

Giolito was the consensus top high school arm in the draft, and his recent performances had created some talk that he might be in the mix for the first overall pick. That’s all out the window now, as a six to ten week rehab program means that scouts likely won’t see him on the mound again before the draft takes place in early June. If the injury isn’t as serious as it sounds, it’s possible he could do some throwing in May, but even that seems like a longshot.

Perhaps the most recent comparable situation involved Minnesota RHP Kyle Gibson, who was rated the #4 prospect in the 2009 draft before a stress fracture in his forearm caused him to miss the end of his junior season. The Twins ended up selecting Gibson 22nd overall, so the injury didn’t cause him to fall out of the first round entirely. After a promising year and a half in the minors, Gibson got hurt again last summer, and required Tommy John surgery last fall. He’s not expected to pitch in 2012.

Giolito’s upside is going to be too hard for teams to pass on, so I’d expect he’ll still go somewhere in the first round, but with stricter rules in place in regards to draft bonuses, it’s going to be harder for him to get a large paycheck from a team at the end of the first round. If Giolito isn’t willing to accept a dramatically reduced bonus from what he would have gotten as a top five pick, this may end up pushing him into the college ranks – he’s committed to UCLA if he does not sign with an MLB team this summer.

This news is a pretty big blow to the teams with early selections. Even if they weren’t planning on taking Giolito, this weakens the top of a draft class that was already a bit underwhelming.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

13 Responses to “Top HS Prospect Lucas Giolito Out For Season”

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  1. dbake005 says:

    UCLA may have just gotten a 3-year-long christmas gift.

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    • illinibob says:

      Agreed. I was hoping my Astros were taking a long look at him, now, they can take Appel, and since they will still suck in 13 and 14, maybe come back and get him later after he reestablishes himself at UCLA

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  2. Bill King says:

    I’m interested to see how far he slips, someone’s going to take a chance on him, it would be a reasonable risk with the new slotting system because the chance of players not signing seems likely to reduce now that there’s not as much leverage.

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    • JayTeam says:

      The chances of a player not signing are greater now. The leverage players had (going to college instead of signing) hasn’t changed. But players who feel they can improve their draft position will have less, and in some cases much less, incentive to sign because teams can’t pay massively over slot anymore.
      MLB recognizes this, which is why teams now have an extra year of protection of comp picks for failing to sign players drafted in the first 3 rounds.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Their leverage has massively changed. They could previously demand way overslot amounts because they could go to college and reasonably expect to earn more their next time out. Now that overslot deals for later picks are going to mostly disappear, players can no longer try to sell that claim (plus they need to try and get drafted as early as possible if they want to get paid), and the benefits of going to college are also reduced as there won’t be significantly more money available unless they go in the top couple picks. Plus, teams have the added leverage of another year of draft pick protection, which makes it that much tougher for players to get overslot deals.

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  3. Greg says:

    I would think that the dampening down on bonuses would make it more likely that someone would pull the trigger, since the amount he would be owed as a #10 pick would be worth the risk if he has #1 talent.

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    • byron says:

      Teams have to pay less, but that doesn’t mean players have to take less to not go to college.

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      • philosofool says:

        Given that you are a top HS harm, here are some quick and dirty numbers:
        probability of being a top college draftee, given that you go: 30%
        probability of being a good college draftee, given that you go: 30%
        probabilty of being injured or otherwise fall in scouts eyes: 30%
        probabilty of not getting drafted (serious injury, failure to perform, etc) for any signifcant money: 10%

        That last one is pretty generous.

        The value of the first, maybe $6m
        The value of the second, about $1m
        The value of the third, $100k
        The fourth is worth nothing.

        I look at the expected monetary value and think there’s about a $1.1m advantage to going the college way, but you have to account for the diminishing utility of dollars, which may be rapid after the first one million.

        Basically, it’s going to be about reasonable utilities for dollars.

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  4. Lindner says:

    This is terribly disappointing… I was really hoping my Twins would grab him at #2. Best of luck to him.

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  5. baty says:

    different stories… Gibson was a college Junior when he was selected. Giolito is more projectable like what HS pitching prospects Taillon and Cole were. I get the injury comparison to Gibson, but Giolito might have been a $6M+ kind of guy in last year’s draft, so the second he starts to slide in this year’s draft, I’d have serious signability concerns.

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  6. Kampfer says:

    The new system encourages kids to go to college — not because of anticipation of a higher bonus, but the fact that their best alternative at this point of their life is simply going to college. For a HS kid who is committed to a good school, teams used to be able to wrestle them away with million of dollars, but they cannot do without a proper draft position now.

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  7. Jake says:

    I think this could be an excellent test case for a team considering going over the spending limit, even up to the 10% threshhold. Let’s just say he’s still available at pick 14, for the Reds. Giolito will have much more potential than anyone else available at that spot, so under normal circumstances it would be a no brainer. The Reds also figure to have a much better season this year in the weakened NL Central, so they could pick anywhere from 20-30 next year.

    With that in mind. Wouldn’t Giolito possibly be worth a 14th and 25th round pick? Also, losing a first round pick means you’re not spending first round money next year, so the amount you go over-slot this year you’d theorectially be recouping next year. This has all the markers of a potential wash against the new draft rules.

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  8. Shaun Catron says:

    High school pitching prospects. I get older and they stay the same age.

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