Author Topic: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development  (Read 944 times)

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Offline Expos

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Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Topic Start: August 26, 2020, 05:37:07 AM »
He would be nice to have right about now.

1 walk away from a perfect game tonight.

Offline Slateman

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Re: Lucas Giolito
« Reply #1: August 26, 2020, 07:55:41 AM »
Sure could. But hindsight is 20/20. We had no idea Eaton was going to shred his knee and freak up his ankle. At the time, he was a cost controlled 4-5.5 WAR player. We all saw Giolito when he debuted with DC and there were people who were screaming Yunkesky Maya 2.0. He was pumping 91-92 here.

The bigger issue is why can't this team develop pitching. Mike Rizzo speaks platitudes about the core of this team being pitching, but right now, four of the five guys in his rotation are guys that the franchise has done little to nothing to develop. Three of them are free agents.

Rizzo became the GM in 2009. He has drafted a lot of pitchers. Who has developed here? Yea, Strasburg has been great when he's healthy. He was also a "once in a generation" pick. Who else?

Aaron Barrett had a nice couple seasons
Joe Ross and Austin Voth have shown some promise but haven't panned out
Tanner Rainey?
Tanner Roark?

Drafted a pitcher in the first round in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019:
Erick Fedde
Seth Romero
Mason  Denaburg
Jackson Rutledge

We should be seeing the fruits of some of those and so far, Fedde seems like the only one who might stick.


Drafting and developing talent is how you stay on top. It's how you can afford big free agents to fill in gaps while maintaining standard payroll. And right now, I don't know that Rizzo is doing that with the pitching. We have, effectively, four free agents being paid in the rotation, and we're still looking for starting pitching depth at the deadline. That's distinctly indicative of the lack of development that the Nationals have been doing the last ten years.

This doesn't even scratch the surface of the lack of bullpen help. Last year really showed how little the Nats have been able to develop anyone to help. Let's be honest, they were freaking desperate and anyone who showed a modicum of ability was given a shot. But the Nats simply didn't have it. Frankly, I think there is more a philosophical issue here, as the Nats seem to push for their guys to be starters longer than other teams would.

I'm not saying Rizzo is a bad GM. I'm not saying that Rizzo should be fired. But I think there is an issue within the organization, from a developmental standpoint. We are not getting the kind of pitching development we need from the organization. For a GM that prides himself on being pitching-focused, that needs to change or the Nationals will constantly have to overpay for free agent pitchers, which will lead to franchise-type position players departing.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #2: August 26, 2020, 09:24:01 AM »
Edited the title because there's a lot to Slate's post worth discussing.

Frankly, I'm not so  impressed at his position drafting, either.  Rizzo's been bailed out by a great Dominican scouting and development program. 

I'm not sure how to classify Jesus Luzardo.  He was a draft pick, played at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, 2016 3d rounder, and was tracking to the big leagues when traded.  While originally acquired in a trade, I think (Guzman?), Treinen also ought to be added to the list of development successes, but should be with a bit of an Astrorisk because he blossomed outside the organization after being up and down here.

Offline Elvir Ovcina

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Re: Lucas Giolito
« Reply #3: August 26, 2020, 09:38:20 AM »
It's not just the first-round pick pitchers not doing that well.  It's not developing much from later round picks, or trading any of them who end up looking promising.

Zimmermann was a 2nd (excellent result),  Crowe 2nd (could still be a useful back-end guy), Glover was an 8th in 2015 who broke.   

The '16 3rd rounder (Luzardo; Doolittle trade) looks excellent for the slot, just he's doing it in Oakland.  Taylor Hearn ('15 5th round; Melancon trade) is doing well as a reliever in TX, Gilbeau ('15 10th round; Strickland/Elias trade) same in Seattle.  It's pretty painful to have no useful pen lefty now when you drafted two guys who look likely to fit that bill fairly late in the same recent draft.  2013 4th Round was Nick Pivetta (meh; but he was traded for Papelbon!).  Can go on even more going back (Robbie Ray, 12th in 2010, traded), but 2010 was basically the last draft that produced much pitching value for the Nats outside the first round (Barrett, Grace -who had one decent season, not bad for an 8th rounder - as well as AJ Cole doing ok elsewhere).

Compare that to even the Mets: deGrom was a 9th, Matz 2nd, Gsellman 13th, Lugo 34th (!), and that's just off the current mediocre staff.  Not all those dudes are world-beaters, but even getting Robert Gsellman with a 13th round pick is a huge steal.

Edited the title because there's a lot to Slate's post worth discussing.

Frankly, I'm not so  impressed at his position drafting, either.  Rizzo's been bailed out by a great Dominican scouting and development program. 

I'm not sure how to classify Jesus Luzardo.  He was a draft pick, played at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, 2016 3d rounder, and was tracking to the big leagues when traded.  While originally acquired in a trade, I think (Guzman?), Treinen also ought to be added to the list of development successes, but should be with a bit of an Astrorisk because he blossomed outside the organization after being up and down here.

Treinen also only had a season and a half in the minors with the Nationals.  He went straight to AA when they got him.

Offline imref

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #4: August 26, 2020, 10:12:16 AM »
i wonder how much any of this matters.  We've been able to draft and develop players enough to the point where they have been effective trade bait in getting us players who fill other holes.  At the end of the day, since 2012 we've won 4 NL East titles plus made the playoffs once as a wild card and we won a WS. So who really cares if our pitching staff is home-grown or acquired through FA signings and trades?  Whatever we've done has worked.

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #5: August 26, 2020, 10:15:55 AM »
Lucas Giolito does not have a World Series ring at the Nationals.

Adam Eaton, for whom he was traded, does.

Offline nats4ever

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #6: August 26, 2020, 10:18:33 AM »
Now everybody want to backtrack because Giolitto is pitching well. You know some you were saying he sucked, and needed to be traded when he was here.

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #7: August 26, 2020, 10:31:44 AM »
Now everybody want to backtrack because Giolitto is pitching well. You know some you were saying he sucked, and needed to be traded when he was here.

For those looking to backtrack, or to simply refresh the memory: https://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=26825.0

Offline Elvir Ovcina

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #8: August 26, 2020, 10:35:29 AM »
For those looking to backtrack, or to simply refresh the memory: https://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=26825.0

The true barometer is what people thought of the trade at the time it was made:  https://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=34710.0

Offline hotshot

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #9: August 26, 2020, 10:36:18 AM »
1. So ... from this thread, maybe the Lerners were prescient in NOT signing Rizzo to a new deal.
 
2. Right now, our high paid pitchers are being outpitched by other teams' low paid pitchers. With regularity. Hope that doesn't put ideas in the Lerners' heads regarding the future.

3. What do we have in Fedde and Voth? I see, respectively, a #5 starter and a Triple A pitcher. Ross? Who knows.

Offline imref

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #10: August 26, 2020, 10:44:52 AM »
Lucas Giolito does not have a World Series ring at the Nationals.

Adam Eaton, for whom he was traded, does.

not just that, but Eaton was a pretty big contributor to that WS run.  Go back to 2014 and Eaton has been a pretty solid and consistent player (injuries not withstanding) who's going to give you .280 / .375 / .420 or so with some pop and decent defense.  Plus he's a heck of a locker room presence.

Yes, I'd rather have Lucas Giolito right now, but not since 2017.

I still can't believe we're continuing to rehash this one.

Offline UMDNats

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #11: August 26, 2020, 10:49:56 AM »
How much control does Rizzo have over the amateur draft? A lot of GMs pawn it off to their head of amateur scouting and just have a tiebreak say on someone like the first round pick, especially if it's like top 5 or whatever. Rizzo isn't scouting high school arms. Kline is in charge of overall scouting so not sure if he's making the call but there's no way Rizzo is up to speed on guys going in the 6th round.

So I think we have some issues with the front office in either talent identification or player development. We're not reaching for guys most of the time, we're taking guys in the ballpark of where they're projected it seems. But every prospect comes into the system and just sucks ass, except for the latin studs that JDP finds. That's an issue in development.

From like 2008-2015 the Yankees had the same issue where they couldn't develop internal players at all, and around 2012 they totally shifted how they scout and develop players (without changing front office personnel). Now they're pumping out major league talent just about better than anyone. Maybe we need to make some changes in the process because we basically suck at development across the board.

Offline UMDNats

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #12: August 26, 2020, 10:50:38 AM »
not just that, but Eaton was a pretty big contributor to that WS run.  Go back to 2014 and Eaton has been a pretty solid and consistent player (injuries not withstanding) who's going to give you .280 / .375 / .420 or so with some pop and decent defense.  Plus he's a heck of a locker room presence.

Yes, I'd rather have Lucas Giolito right now, but not since 2017.

I still can't believe we're continuing to rehash this one.

If we're looking for real locker room presence we'd bring in Drake LaRoche.

Offline Elvir Ovcina

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #13: August 26, 2020, 11:00:01 AM »
not just that, but Eaton was a pretty big contributor to that WS run.  Go back to 2014 and Eaton has been a pretty solid and consistent player (injuries not withstanding) who's going to give you .280 / .375 / .420 or so with some pop and decent defense.  Plus he's a heck of a locker room presence.

Yes, I'd rather have Lucas Giolito right now, but not since 2017.

I still can't believe we're continuing to rehash this one.

The only question here is how much anyone thinks Eaton contributed to the WS.  Because it turned out he couldn't handle CF, he's a below-average corner OF piece.  I don't say that to be mean, but league-average outfielders run up 2-3 WAR per year.  Eaton is near the bottom of that range, depending which WAR metric you use.  Yes, he was cheap: $28 million over 17-21, not accounting for the COVID haircut. 

He's been roughly Josh Reddick except the 2017 season (Eaton was hurt; Reddick was quite good).  That's kinda the issue:  Reddick was a free agent the same winter the Nats traded for Eaton.  He cost $52 million for that same time period.  $24 million more than Eaton, but if the Nats had wanted to just sell Lopez, Giolito, and Dunning, you could have gotten a lot more money than that.

Again, hindsight is an overexamined 20/20.  But they won the WS.  If they didn't do that, I'd score this one a definite loss of a trade.  But that's not reality.   

i wonder how much any of this matters.  We've been able to draft and develop players enough to the point where they have been effective trade bait in getting us players who fill other holes.  At the end of the day, since 2012 we've won 4 NL East titles plus made the playoffs once as a wild card and we won a WS. So who really cares if our pitching staff is home-grown or acquired through FA signings and trades?  Whatever we've done has worked.

Except that right now, it's not working.  The gap-filler trade acquisitions aren't filling the gaps that need to be filled now. The bill eventually comes due.  That's now.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #14: August 26, 2020, 11:10:45 AM »
I’ll quote my post from March 2017

https://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=34710.msg1822351#msg1822351

Even if they are lights out in Chicago, it is not completely clear that the Nats pitching coaches would have gotten the same result.
It may be the the Nationals realized they had no more to offer these guys developmentally. And the White Sox are better at that than the Nats. I believe this to be especially true for Giolito.
So
I'm not even clear that looking at future performance is the best way to evaluate this trade. Especially given the win now mindset and the fact that Eaton's contract is so club friendly.

Offline Slateman

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #15: August 26, 2020, 12:09:01 PM »
Lucas Giolito does not have a World Series ring at the Nationals.

Adam Eaton, for whom he was traded, does.

Is that the end all be all to this conversation? Like not matter what, we can't discuss anything else?  Hey, its' cool we didn't take Mike Trout because we wont a World Series?

If your argument is that we only win the WS because of Eaton, I'd love to see something to back that up. I'm not saying he didn't contribute. I just don't see how you can make an argument that we don't win a WS without him. Especially when, in hindsight, Giolito was one of the best SPs in baseball and Bryce Harper's contract makes him a decent bargain.

Offline Smithian

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #16: August 26, 2020, 12:17:39 PM »
At the time, I thought it was an overpay, and I still think it was. We paid $100 for a $60 steak. Eaton was a top asset, and we paid a whole lot knowing we needed a table setter and would have enough pitching in the postseason.

But it was a "win now" move and at the end of the day Adam Eaton was in the lineup every day for a World Series winner. The White Sox got a top pitcher.

I think it was the definition of a win-win trade.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #17: August 26, 2020, 12:37:17 PM »
Is that the end all be all to this conversation? Like not matter what, we can't discuss anything else?  Hey, its' cool we didn't take Mike Trout because we wont a World Series?

If your argument is that we only win the WS because of Eaton, I'd love to see something to back that up. I'm not saying he didn't contribute. I just don't see how you can make an argument that we don't win a WS without him. Especially when, in hindsight, Giolito was one of the best SPs in baseball and Bryce Harper's contract makes him a decent bargain.

The razor between winning and losing is incredibly thin. Very good teams don’t win. There is a lot of randomness in playoff baseball. The Nats won the World Series by literally the thinnest of margins, a comeback win in Game 7. It’s likely that changing anything would have resulted in a different outcome. Especially on a team whose success was attributed at least partly to a unique clubhouse culture.

The fact is the Nats did, in fact, win the World Series. And Adam Eaton did, in fact, play a significant role. I think if we are arguing counterfactuals, the burden of proof is going to be pretty high for arguing that you win without Eaton.

And if that’s the case the question should be, would you give up last year’s trophy to have 2020 Giolito?

Offline zimm_da_kid

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #18: August 26, 2020, 12:42:12 PM »
Even with the injuries Eaton had, it wasn't a bad trade per say.  We definitely did not have the time for giolito to figure it out at the MLB level.  The White Sox did.  My only issue is we should have gotten a better package back for a giolito-led package

Offline Count Walewski

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #19: August 26, 2020, 12:45:17 PM »
Lucas Giolito was absolutely awful in 2018 and famously had the worst ERA of any starting pitcher that year. Yet the White Sox trotted him out there every 5 days. Why? They could. They were a rebuilding team and wins and losses didn't matter. In fact it helped them get the #3 pick in the draft that year, which they used on a can't-miss 1B prospect to eventually replace Jose Abreu. In fact, they're still trotting Reynaldo Lopez out there regularly despite now being a WC contender, since he is still showing enough flashes of brilliance each time he gives up 6 runs.

Would the 2018 Nationals, a team fighting for a playoff spot, have continued to trot Lucas Giolito of the 6.13 ERA out every 5 days? No of course not. He would at best have been sent to the minors, or even tossed out of the organization for far less than 1 season of a healthy Adam Eaton. Reynaldo Lopez would be gone for sure. Dunning might be the only the only person to actually still be on the 2020 Nationals in this hypothetical universe and his ceiling is mid-rotation at best.

Most MLB teams are bad at identifying talent in the draft. Just look at all the superstars who weren't drafted #1 overall. Developing talent via the draft is a tough business. Rizzo built a team that contended for almost a decade by doing some of the best free agent signings of all time (Scherzer, Murphy) and having an almost supernatural ability to sign winners from the Dominican Republic. The Nationals have consistently gotten amazing performances from veteran FAs who seemed past their prime when they arrived, and during the Dusty Baker years at least also consistently got amazing performances out of backups. This team is good at a lot of things under Rizzo.

Offline hotshot

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #20: August 26, 2020, 12:55:26 PM »
The razor between winning and losing is incredibly thin. Very good teams don’t win. There is a lot of randomness in playoff baseball. The Nats won the World Series by literally the thinnest of margins, a comeback win in Game 7. It’s likely that changing anything would have resulted in a different outcome. Especially on a team whose success was attributed at least partly to a unique clubhouse culture.

The fact is the Nats did, in fact, win the World Series. And Adam Eaton did, in fact, play a significant role. I think if we are arguing counterfactuals, the burden of proof is going to be pretty high for arguing that you win without Eaton.

And if that’s the case the question should be, would you give up last year’s trophy to have 2020 Giolito?
Well said. No way we win the WS without Eaton and no, I would not trade the WS win for Giolitto now.

Offline hotshot

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #21: August 26, 2020, 12:57:21 PM »
If we continue to "sign winners from the DR," we're sitting pretty.

Offline Kevrock

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #22: August 26, 2020, 01:12:00 PM »
I’ll quote my post from March 2017

https://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=34710.msg1822351#msg1822351


Fun reading old takes in that thread.

.284, which isn't bad, and OBP over .350 every year. He did hit .300 his rookie year if you are obsessed with AVG, although you should read some other stats.

This is a step in the right direction for our lineup for sure. You get rid of another low average, high K hitter from the infield, add Eaton, move Turner to SS. Lineup steadily looking more like a more consistent lineup which pays off in the playoffs.

Cost seems high but I didn't watch enough baseball this year to sour on Giolito like everyone else has done.


Offline Kevrock

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #23: August 26, 2020, 01:16:47 PM »
I was quoting this post :lmao:

A 280 career high hitter
World Series here we come

Offline Slateman

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Re: Lucas Giolito & Nats Pitching Development
« Reply #24: August 26, 2020, 01:33:46 PM »
The razor between winning and losing is incredibly thin. Very good teams don’t win. There is a lot of randomness in playoff baseball. The Nats won the World Series by literally the thinnest of margins, a comeback win in Game 7. It’s likely that changing anything would have resulted in a different outcome. Especially on a team whose success was attributed at least partly to a unique clubhouse culture.

The fact is the Nats did, in fact, win the World Series. And Adam Eaton did, in fact, play a significant role. I think if we are arguing counterfactuals, the burden of proof is going to be pretty high for arguing that you win without Eaton.

And if that’s the case the question should be, would you give up last year’s trophy to have 2020 Giolito?

Very good teams win. You have to be a good team to win. You can say that changing anything has a different result, but what if Giolito pitching lights out in Game 4 and Bryce Harper hits monster home runs, and we end up winning in 5 games at home? See how dumb this is? The crux of this argument is that, somehow, getting a worse player in Eaton, magically made the team better. And that's an impossible statement to even deal with, because by that logic, we should trade Juan Soto right now for someone half as good, and we'll magically be a better team.

Obviously no one is saying that they would trade a WS trophy for 2020 Giolito. But the idea that somehow Eaton as this lynchpin to a WS victory is pretty laughable, especially when we had him for most of the year before and couldn't make the playoffs. Getting a very good third pitcher in the rotation had far more to do with that than Eaton's 107 wRC+. I mean, let's think about this rationally: Are we saying that if we had traded Giolito for Christian Yelich, we wouldn't have won a WS?

Lucas Giolito was absolutely awful in 2018 and famously had the worst ERA of any starting pitcher that year. Yet the White Sox trotted him out there every 5 days. Why? They could. They were a rebuilding team and wins and losses didn't matter. In fact it helped them get the #3 pick in the draft that year, which they used on a can't-miss 1B prospect to eventually replace Jose Abreu. In fact, they're still trotting Reynaldo Lopez out there regularly despite now being a WC contender, since he is still showing enough flashes of brilliance each time he gives up 6 runs.

Would the 2018 Nationals, a team fighting for a playoff spot, have continued to trot Lucas Giolito of the 6.13 ERA out every 5 days? No of course not. He would at best have been sent to the minors, or even tossed out of the organization for far less than 1 season of a healthy Adam Eaton. Reynaldo Lopez would be gone for sure. Dunning might be the only the only person to actually still be on the 2020 Nationals in this hypothetical universe and his ceiling is mid-rotation at best.

Most MLB teams are bad at identifying talent in the draft. Just look at all the superstars who weren't drafted #1 overall. Developing talent via the draft is a tough business. Rizzo built a team that contended for almost a decade by doing some of the best free agent signings of all time (Scherzer, Murphy) and having an almost supernatural ability to sign winners from the Dominican Republic. The Nationals have consistently gotten amazing performances from veteran FAs who seemed past their prime when they arrived, and during the Dusty Baker years at least also consistently got amazing performances out of backups. This team is good at a lot of things under Rizzo.
The Nats were never a contender in 2018 and never should have treated it that way. Also, after 2018, the White Sox worked to transform his mechanics. The question is not, would the Nationals have let him start? The question is, why didn't the Nationals catch on to all of the issues with Giolito's mechanics and work in the offseason to fix them? This isn't an individual case here. Who exactly have the Nationals developed? Why do the Indians develop Clevinger (4th rounder) and Shane Bieber (4th round)? Why is other teams get Blake Treinen and turn him into an elite reliever?

Tanner Roark is the best developmental pitching project of Mike Rizzo's tenure. If you're going to say that foundation of your organization is starting pitching, then this cannot happen.