It has become increasingly clear that Lucas Giolito really struggled with control issues as a high school ballplayer, even as one of the nation's most intriguing prospects. Simply put, when that ball came out of his hand, there were a whole lot of possibilities as to where it might end up.
One of those places was right on the nose of his Harvard-Westlake teammate Max Fried, which was gushing blood and broken as a result. Another was in the back of someone whose father is perhaps the most recognizable name in sports history — though, as we heard on the latest episode of Jomboy Media's "The Chris Rose Rotation," Giolito couldn't think of it at first.
Reflecting on attending the Area Code baseball tournament, where 200 of the country's top high school players would compete and where Giolito first met Fried, the White Sox starter recalled another incident from those games.
"Who's like — I'm the worst with names — who's the most famous, best NHL player of all time?" Giolito asked, to which Rose and Tyler Glasnow both answered with the obvious. "I hit Wayne Gretzky's son in the back with like 94 miles per hour. When I was that young, I had no idea where the ball was going... I was a super gangly guy, too, so I could throw hard. I don't know how I threw hard when I look at my mechanics back then because it was a complete mess, but I threw really hard and that was it."
Giolito didn't realize at the time that it was The Great One's son, as he was told after the fact who he had drilled... in the back with a 94 mph fastball as a high schooler. Ouch.
Looking into the event on MaxPreps, it looks like the Milwaukee Brewers White club was led by Trevor Gretzky — the aforementioned son of Wayne — and Shawon Dunston, whose father of the same name was a two-time All-Star for the Cubs. Fried was also a member of this team, while Giolito was on the Milwaukee Brewers Blue squad. Other future MLBers in the tournament included Michael Conforto, Joe Musgrove, Austin Hedges, Blake Snell and several more. There was even a future NBA player in the event, as Pat Connaughton suited up for the New York Yankees team.
Trevor Gretzky was drafted by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Draft, though he never made it past A-ball for any organization and ended his career in 2017, playing for the independent Canadian-American Association's Trois-Rivieres Aigles. He's also had some acting jobs.
The next year, it's possible that Giolito had straightened out his accuracy issues, but not his anger issues.
"And then it was the following Area Codes, the actual Area Code Games, where I got this label of being 'soft' because I'm from Southern California," Giolito said. "And so I remember everyone's (saying) 'Giolito's soft, he goes to a private school,' so I just hit a kid on purpose, like for no reason."