MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Giolito, Lopez ready to join Class A Potomac

Pitching prospects were building arm strength at extended spring training

Giolito, Lopez ready to join Class A Potomac

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-handers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are expected to start their seasons this week for Class A Advanced Potomac.

There was nothing wrong with the two pitchers, who participated in extended spring training "to build volume," said assistant general manager Doug Harris.

"We started their throwing program when they came to us. So they were a few weeks behind," Harris said.

Lopez will make his first start Wednesday against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, while Giolito will start Friday against the Frederick Keys.

Giolito is one of the reasons the Nationals' farm system is considered strong. Ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Nats' top prospect, Giolito, 20, showed he was fully recovered from Tommy John surgery last year while playing for Class A Hagerstown. In 20 starts, he was 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 98 innings.

Lopez, 21, is ranked the fourth-best prospect in the organization after going 7-3 with a 1.08 ERA between Class A Short Season Auburn and Hagerstown. He issued only 26 walks in 83 1/3 innings, and his fastball has been clocked as high as 95 mph.

Top Prospects: Lopez, WSH

In other prospect news, right-hander Erick Fedde, the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft (18th overall), is throwing from the mound and hopes to start pitching in extended spring games in about a month, according to Harris.

After being drafted, Fedde immediately had Tommy John surgery, and he hopes to pitch in Minor League games later this season.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.