Pipeline preview: Giolito aims to extend winning streak
Nationals' top prospect sets sights on fourth straight win since Futures Game
Lucas Giolito finished July on a roll. After giving up a home run to Cubs' No. 2 prospect Javier Baez in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 13, the Nationals' No. 1 prospect returned to Class A Hagerstown and resumed dominating hitters in the South Atlantic League.
Giolito, ranked No. 10 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, has won all three of his starts since appearing in the Futures Game. In each of his last two, he threw six scoreless innings and allowed a combined three hits. All of that is part of a longer, five-decision winning streak that dates back to June.
Giolito will look to continue those streaks Tuesday as he takes the mound for Hagerstown, facing West Virginia. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
West Virginia brings plenty of prospect firepower of its own to the matchup. The Power are led by outfielder Austin Meadows and catcher Reese McGuire, the Pirates' two first round picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Meadows, the Pirates' No. 4 prospect and No. 49 on the Top 100, missed nearly all of the first three months of the season due to a hamstring injury he suffered in Spring Training. He didn't join West Virginia until July 12 and is hitting .301/.338/.356 with seven runs in 18 games.
McGuire, the Pirates' No. 7 prospect and No. 80 on the Top 100, has been with the Power all season. While the 19-year old hasn't hit quite as well as expected, he has earned praise for his work behind the plate. He is hitting .260/.303/.311 in 79 games.
After winning the first game of the series Monday, McGuire and Meadows will try to make it two in a row Tuesday. It won't be easy, however. Not only has Giolito been pitching well recently, the big right-hander has proven to be one of the best pitchers in the league all season.
The Nationals have closely monitored Giolito's workload since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and he hasn't thrown enough innings to qualify for the South Atlantic League ERA title. If he had, his 2.17 ERA and 0.96 ERA would be the best in the league. Even having thrown just 83 innings, he has struck out 94 batters, the 11th most in the circuit.
In addition to Giolito, several other pitchers ranked on the Top 100 are scheduled to start Tuesday, including Dylan Bundy (No. 15), Eddie Butler (No. 29), Mark Appel (No. 45), Michael Feliz (No. 98) and Alex Gonzalez (No. 99). Fans can watch Butler, Appel, Feliz and Gonzalez on MiLB.TV, beginning with Butler and Double-A Tulsa visiting Midland at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Appel, the Astros' No. 2 prospect, will be making his second start since being promoted to Corpus Christi. He threw five scoreless innings in his debut and will look to continue that streak Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. ET when he faces Northwest Arkansas and third Hunter Dozier, ranked No. 92 on the Top 100.
Top prospect probables
Victor Alcantara (Angels' No. 14), Burlington at Quad Cities
Mark Appel (Astros' No. 2), Corpus Christi at Northwest Arkansas
Trey Ball (Red Sox's No. 15), Greenville vs. Augusta
Tim Berry (Orioles' No. 6), Bowie vs. Portland
Dylan Bundy (Orioles' No. 1), Frederick vs. Carolina
Eddie Butler (Rockies' No. 2), Tulsa at Midland
Jonathon Crawford (Tigers' No. 3), West Michigan at Lake County
Michael Feliz (Astros' No. 7), Quad Cities vs. Burlington
Brian Flynn (Marlins' No. 10), New Orleans vs. Nashville
Lucas Giolito (Nationals' No. 1), Hagerstown at West Virginia
Alex Gonzalez (Rangers' No. 5), Frisco vs. Springfield
Ismael Guillon (Reds' No. 10), Bakersfield vs. San Jose
Brian Johnson (Red Sox's No. 12), Portland at Bowie
Zach Lee (Dodgers' No. 6), Albuquerque vs. Tacoma
Jorge Lopez (Brewers' No. 9), Brevard County at Tampa
Luis Lugo (Indians' No. 20), Lake County vs. West Michigan
Adalberto Mejia (Giants' No. 4), Richmond vs. Binghamton
Rafael Montero (Mets' No. 6), Las Vegas at Sacramento
Mike Montgomery (Rays' No. 17), Durham at Lehigh Valley
Jen-Ho Tseng (Cubs' No. 16), Kane County at Peoria
Devin Williams (Brewers' No. 7), Helena at Idaho Falls
Tyler Wilson (Orioles' No. 16), Norfolk vs. Buffalo
Tom Windle (Dodgers' No. 7), Rancho Cucamonga at High Desert