This is a bummer. It stinks for fans of the game, it stinks for the chief decision-makers of teams at the top of the draft (if nothing else there’s now one less potential star to push your guy down the board), it stinks for the area guys who haven’t dragged themselves to see Harvard-Westlake yet (I have a friend in this current position…yeah, he’s not great at his job), and, above all else, it stinks for Giolito.
A few more thoughts, including speculation that isn’t really front page worthy, if you click below…
*** Like many others, I, too, believed Giolito was the draft’s best prospect. An injury of this nature doesn’t automatically change that — the most advanced timetables have him throwing before the end of draft season, if not during games then at least in side sessions for scouts — as even the worst case scenario (TJ surgery) isn’t nearly the death sentence it once was for young arms. We are a long way away from the draft in June, so any speculation, while undoubtedly interesting, isn’t worth much more than the electronic ink used to type it up. If I may spill a little of that ink myself (99% of the content on this site is me speculating to nobody in particular), let me go on record as speculating that I don’t think Giolito’s stock will plummet quite to the extent that many others have already proclaimed. He won’t go first overall, but he won’t come close to falling out of the first round, either. Assuming that’s true, I think he signs out of high school and forgoes his commitment to UCLA. Lastly, I think he’ll wind up under the knife within the next six months. That last prediction is 100% baseless speculation, so ignore me like the random internet baseball obsessive that I am. I’m merely guessing based largely on the track record of pitcher’s with similar tears. Again, I have no actual knowledge of the extent of Giolito’s specific injury, though I wish him the best in his recovery.
*** I’ve done my best to bite my tongue and not say anything nasty about the latest CBA’s changes to the draft, but this exact situation occurring in the first year of draft slotting and bonus allocation money couldn’t have worked out any worse for Major League Baseball from a PR standpoint. Then again, the unfortunate relative lack of interest surrounding the draft should allow the knuckleheads who made the changes to come out relatively unscathed. I love following the draft year-round and the three days that picks are made might just be my three favorite days of the year (narrowly beating out Arbor Day), but thinking about how the whole process works is nauseating. The draft is not fair to amateurs and recent changes have only made it less fair. I love drafts, but, really, drafts are stupid.
*** Since I’m a selfish self-absorbed son of a gun, it is only natural that I think of myself whenever I read about an athlete suffering a major injury. There isn’t much I can really relate to when I think about the ups and downs of living a life with world class athleticism, but, as anybody with the extreme pleasure of knowing me in the real world already knows, the universal down that is debilitating injury is one I have pretty well covered. There are few worse feelings in the world than the disappointment that runs through you after being told you can’t do what you have always been able to do because of an injury.
*** Last idle thought of the day: I hope somebody is in Giolito’s ear informing him of the many possible silver linings of his injury. Maybe something like, “Find yourself healthy and dominant on the mound again and before long losing out on a few million bucks in bonus money will all seem like a silly memory. You’re a big league ballplayer, injury or no injury.” Big picture, things will work out just fine.