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Giolito could make history

Luc Giolito is the top high school pitcher in this draft, and there's a good argument that he's the top pitcher in the draft, period. And in a weak draft class, he's a candidate to make history and become the first high school right-hander go first overall.

Giolito started the first game of a doubleheader for Harvard-Westlake on Saturday, hitting 95-96 with his fastball in the first inning and 93-95 over the rest of his outing with good late life on the pitch. His curveball is hard and he changes its shape, throwing some with typical two-plane break and others with shorter, more slider-like action, mostly in the 83-86 mph range. He'll flash a changeup, but it's clearly his third option, especially since on Saturday he was aggressive in attacking hitters and located the fastball better than I'd seen him do previously.

Giolito stays over the rubber well, then drifts forward while taking an enormous stride toward the plate, really making use of his height to generate more velocity. He gets out over his front side well, so his release point is pretty close to the hitter and his stuff, already strong, plays up as a result. His arm path is consistent and clean, with early pronation and some hip rotation to generate torque.

Given Giolito's size -- he's listed at 6-foot-6, 230 -- he's going to receive comparisons to the last giant, hard-throwing prep right-hander Jameson Taillon, who was selected second overall in the 2010 Rule 4 draft and ranked third on my draft board that year. Taillon's stuff was a little more electric, but his delivery wasn't as smooth and he tended to pull himself off line by overthrowing. Taillon was 18.5 when he was drafted, while Giolito will be a month shy of his 18th birthday on draft day this year. I think it's a toss-up between those two guys, so in a year with no Bryce Harper, it's reasonable to think Giolito has a chance to go 1-1 and should be off the board before pick five.

Giolito's teammate, left-hander Max Fried, should be off the board before the middle of the first round too, giving Harvard-Westlake one of the best high school rotations I can remember seeing. Fried transferred when his old school, Montclair Prep, discontinued its baseball program, so Harvard-Westlake games will be well-attended by scouts this year.

Fried didn't have his best fastball on Saturday but still really competed, reaching back for 93 a few times when he needed it but mostly sitting 89-91 with good life when going to his arm side. Hitters didn't see the ball well out of his hands, but I noticed the pitch has a lot less life when he's throwing to his glove side. His curveball, while not completely consistent, can show very sharp downward break in the 73-76 mph range, occasionally getting slurvy up toward 77-78. His changeup was excellent, with great arm speed and late run (harder than the usual fade on a changeup) at 81-83.

Fried is a good athlete who can swing the bat a little and fields his position well. He repeats his delivery very consistently, starting with a high leg kick and a big shoulder tilt, finishing with a moderate stride that is usually on line to the plate. He's still projectable at 6-4, 175, and I would be surprised if he didn't eventually pitch in the 92-94 range, if not better, with two above-average or better secondary offerings. He's the best prep lefty in this draft, with a good chance to end up a top-10 pick.