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All American Game | Story | 9/13/2011

Dominant Giolito named top pitcher

Jeff Dahn     
Photo: Perfect Game

When Perfect Game updated its national top prospect rankings at the end of August, there was a new gun-slinging sheriff at the top of the class of 2012.

Southern California right-hander Lucas Giolito, a strapping 6-foot-6, 230-pounder with a fastball that has reached the upper 90s, supplanted Florida right-hander/infielder Lance McCullers as the top-ranked prospect in the class in the updated rankings.

His climb to No. 1 from No. 2 in the rankings came after a summer in which Giolito wowed scouts and college coaches alike, and earned selection to the West Team roster at last month’s Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings in San Diego. He was the West’s starting pitcher in the Classic, and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 first inning.

At the PG All-American Classic Awards Banquet on the night of Aug. 13, Giolito was named the 2011 Baseball America Pitcher of the Year Award. He earned the honor largely on his performance in the spring as a junior at Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, Calif., when he went 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA, while striking out 78 in 70 1/3 innings of work.

It’s an unbelievable honor,” Giolito said about being named to the Classic roster. “I’ve been working hard for it for a long time and being able to partake in that kind of experience is just unbelievable. I’m not going in expecting anything performance-wise, I just want to go in and have the time of my life. I’ve been looking forward to it all summer.”

The Pitcher of the Year Award was presented to Giolito by Lee Folger, President and Publisher of Baseball America.

Baseball America has been involved with the Perfect Game All-American Classic since its inception in 2003,” Folger told the assembled crowd at the Awards Banquet. “Since 2003, rising stars such as Buster Posey and Justin Upton have worn the Perfect Game All-American jersey on their way to promising professional baseball careers.

Participation in the Classic signifies an opportunity to build a bright future in the next levels of baseball, and it’s a thrill to be the room with such exciting talent and players of character.”

Giolito has verbally committed to UCLA, as have fellow Classic West Team pitchers Max Fried, Cody Poteet and Hunter Virant. During their four days together in San Diego, the foursome earned a reputation as a group of guys who like to keep things loose.

I would say that this group right here, we’re a little loose,” Giolito said before an All-American Classic practice session. “We are a bunch of comedians, I guess. Hunter’s a funny kid, Cody is hilarious – I’m not so much myself but I think it’s even rubbed off on me a little bit.

It’s a bunch of real good kids who are serious about the sport but at the same time they like having a good time relaxing.”

Through his participation in various Perfect Game events over the last couple of years, Giolito was able to project himself as one of the nation’s top prospects. And there’s no question he belongs among the elite.

Through all these showcases and events and all these things, I’ve gotten to know a lot of (the top players), even if they’re from the other side of the country,” Giolito said. “Being able to immerse yourself in other personalities and maybe even other cultures from other parts of the country, that’s a huge educational experience.”

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