2012 MLB Draft Scouting Reports: Lucas Giolito, Max Fried, Joey GalloPosted by in MLB Draft | Scouting Reports
Lucas Giolito – RHP
What to Love: We’ll start this series with one of the biggest high school pitching prospects in this year’s draft: Lucas Giolito. This Southern California native combines a great frame and a fluid delivery with some of the best stuff in the draft class, including a fastball that has touched 100 MPH, a strong power curve and a changeup that has shown potential. At 6’6 220 lbs, Giolito will be able to add some weight to his somewhat wiry frame, which should allow him to add velocity to his already impressive arsenal. Giolito has also been able to leverage his size and his over-the-top delivery to create tremendous downhill plane on his pitches, leaving scouts seeing plenty of strikeouts and groundballs in his future. Needless to say, this right-hander has seemingly limitless potential.
What to Loath: There has only been one wart on Giolito’s scouting report, and it’s a big one: injury risk. After some monster early showcase performances (including one at the 2011 Area Code games, where the exclusive video below was filmed), Giolito went down with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and did not throw another pitch during the remainder of the high school season. While no surgery will be required in his recovery, any potential damage to the UCL in a pitcher’s throwing elbow will understandably be cause for serious concern. With a commitment to UCLA, Giolito also has the leverage of a strong college program to bring to the negotiating table. The right-hander could forego a professional career for another three years if the opportunity to prove his health and get a quality education are worth more to him than the contract he’s offered out of high school.
How He Fits: Like many of the high-upside pitchers before him, Giolito is a guy that would be a welcome addition to any minor league system. Prior to ths spring, this right-hander was the consensus #1 high school player and likely a top-two overall pick in the Rule IV before the aforementioned UCL injury knocked him out for the prep season, so it’s not too bold to think that the pitcher with arguably the highest upside in the draft could be taken with the seventh overall pick. In a perfect world, the Padres could see Giolito headlining a pitching staff with Casey Kelly, Joe Ross, Robbie Erlin, and Joe Wieland in the distant future. That’s a dream that any San Diego fan can buy into.
Padres’ Best Shot: 1st Pick (7th overall)
Max Fried – LHP
What to Love: Left-handed pitchers with size and stuff are hard enough to find. Southpaws with command of their stuff and the athleticism to repeat their deliveries may be one the rarest breeds of all. Max Fried, a teammate of the aforementioned Giolito, might as well be a thoroughbred. Heading into the 2012 prep season, Fried was supposed to be the second part of a two-headed monster at Harvard Westlake High School. Instead, Fried became the ace of the staff when Giolito went down with an elbow injury and led his high school team to a league championship this season. This Southern California native breezed through the prep season, combining a fastball that sits in the low 90’s and touches 94 with a very good curveball and a developing changeup. At 6’3 170 lbs, Fried also has an ideal pitcher’s frame that should allow him to gain weight and add even more velocity down the line. While he doesn’t have the same upside as Giolito, many scouts can see middle-of-the-rotation potential for Fried, a designation that would only play up at PETCO Park. Fried is also very athletic and is able to repeat his explosive delivery well.
What to Loath: Though the fastball is clearly there, Fried’s secondary pitches are merely a work in progress as this point. The curveball is much further along than the changeup, mostly because high school starters rarely have to use more than two pitches against amateur talent. I wasn’t too impressed with the breaking ball at the Perfect Game All-American Classic this past fall – an offering that sat in the 70’s in that outing – but the velocity differential with his fastball and the promise of professional coaching makes me optimistic about his development of that pitch. Like Giolito, Fried has committed to UCLA, making this southpaw a potentially tough sign, especially if his teammate decides to play for the Bruins over the next three seasons.
How He Fits: Fried would be a fantastic addition to any farm system, though it’s unlikely that selecting this left-hander would grab as many headlines as a selection of Giolito would. Fried is a safer play than his injured teammate and could end up being something like a left-handed Casey Kelly down the road.
Padres’ Best Shot: 1st Pick (7th overall)
Joey Gallo – 1B/3B, RHP
What to Love: Gallo is a big, strong two-way player out of Nevada with monster power potential. Though he’s a right-handed thrower, Gallo has a big swing from the left side that has some impressive leverage and has allowed scouts to project him to hit a ton of home runs down the line. Though he may outgrow the position in the future, Gallo has plenty of arm-strength to play third base at the next level. Gallo’s arm has also gotten praise in his work as a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, with the ability to reach the mid-90’s with his fastball while also flashing an impressive changeup and breaking ball. Most evaluators believe that Gallo’s future is with the bat, but teams will be happy to know that selecting this young Nevadan will always have a contingency plan on the mound. Still, given their offensive output as of late, one would fully expect the Padres brass to give Gallo every chance to prove himself with the bat before making him transition to the mound.
What to Loath: Though Gallo’s 6’5 205 lbs frame is impressive now, there are concerns that he’ll outgrow the hot corner and leave first base as his only capable position. Scouts also believe that Gallo’s swing can be a bit long and will need to be shortened up if he is to hit for any kind of batting average in the future. If pitching is Gallo’s future, most see him coming out of the bullpen rather than emerging as a starter at the next level. Gallo is yet another elite college commit, signing with the LSU Tigers this past year, which could result in tough negotiations this summer. Furthermore, San Diego and Gallo could see differently in terms of which position he will see the most success at in his professional career, thus becoming another potential hurdle to jump when trying to ink this young man.
How He Fits: The Padres will always be a team that will need more power in their lineup, so Gallo wouldn’t be a hard piece to fit in San Diego’s plans. Gallo is seen more as a late first rounder in this year’s draft, so the Padres will need a bit of luck if they are to see him fall to their first pick in the supplemental round.
Padres’ Best Shot: 2nd Pick (33rd Overall)
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