Courtesy of MinorLeagueBall.com’s John Sickels (who I’ve asked if he’s doing a player-by-player recap of this year’s draftees like he did last year, which I borrowed from for a good blog post last off-season, but have not heard back), here’s a posting with links to the blog BaseballInstinct, which has some good video of Lucas Giolito throwing during his time in the GCL earlier this month.
The videos are set to rather loud music, so hit mute if you’re at work or are annoyed by electronic/techno music.
The videos show POV from behind the catcher and then some from the side, have some MPH readings, have some slo-mo of Giolito’s mechanics for various pitches and at release points.
– He looks like a bigger kid than the photo above shows. He has a good pitcher build, big legs, big strong body. He’s listed as 6’6″ 230 so I’m not sure why I thought he was a little wiry kid.
– His motion looks like a cross between Cole Kimball with perhaps a little Roy Oswalt. When he lands, his shoulder tilt and arm position are almost identical to Kimball’s, while his arm flail in regular speed seems like a throwback to Oswalt.
– 92-93 reportedly on the gun in these videos; it was from earlier this month, early in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. But, this is a far cry from the reported upper 90s/100 he showed in high school (speeds per PerfectGame scouting reports). I’m hoping this was just from a very early game in his rehab and he was holding back.
– Is it just me, or is his curve ball incredibly telegraphed? His arm position seems way, way higher for his curve than it did for his fastball. That and his hand position seems to be very simple to pick up. We talked earlier this season about tipping pitches and I’m guessing this is something they’ll work on with Giolito. If an amateur like me can see a difference that distinct, then a professional certainly can too.
– Likewise, later in the video his trailing leg finish is incredibly inconsistent. Sometimes it comes across his body, sometimes he kicks the ground, sometimes it just trails behind. It seems like he may need some mechanical fine tuning. Does this make a difference in the pitch? It’s too late to be a pitch tipping mechanism and could be because he was throwing from the stretch/trying to slide step a bit.
– He gets an incredibly long push-off the rubber (see the side-action video later in the link). By the time he releases the ball, his foot is at least 12-15 inches in front of the rubber and his arm/release point has to be at least 7+ feet in front of the rubber. Study the video; he’s 6’6″ and he’s clearly further off the rubber than he is tall. We talk about how really tall pitchers (think Jon Rauch, Chris Young and Randy Johnson) get an advantage because they’re releasing the ball closer to home, so the pitch looks faster than it is. Giolito’s mechanics combined with his height give this same appearance. If you combine this long push-off and the reported velocity he can achieve … wow, that’s a heck of a combination. There’s no wonder that he was in the mix for 1-1 last year.
Any other thoughts? I know there are readers out there who discount this kid as a prospect. But I’ll say this; 10 shutout innings so far after being promoted to Short-A, which is basically a college league. He’s only 19 and is recovering from injury. If he starts next season in low-A before his 20th birthday and gets promoted up at some point, he’ll be well on his way to being one of the top prospects in baseball.