The Cincinnati Reds selected Nick Lodolo out of TCU with the 7th overall pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. The 6′ 6″ and 220 lb. left-handed pitcher was the first pitcher taken this season and was considered the best pitcher available in the draft by just about every draft analysis available. He was coming off of a strong performance in his junior season for the Horned Frogs and surprising to some, was assigned to the Advanced-Rookie level Billings Mustangs.
The Reds decided to really monitor the workload for Nick Lodolo to begin his professional career. In his first outing he threw just 11 pitches, striking out two batters along the way. The next time out he threw 29 pitches in 1.1 innings, allowing 2 hits and being charged with 2 unearned runs. His pitch count in his third start of the year must have been in the same range because he got through 2.0 innings on 23 pitches with 3 strikeouts, but didn’t come out to start the 3rd inning.
It was the most recent start on Saturday that saw the Reds and Nick Lodolo expand things. The Mustangs starter pitched into the 3rd inning for the first time and he thew 40 pitches while striking out 5 batters against Missoula over 2.1 innings pitched. It sounds like the plan is to continue to slowly ramp up the workload for the left-handed pitcher this season, but still keep his workload in check along the way.
For the limited amount of action that Nick Lodolo has had this season, he’s dominated thus far. That’s not terribly surprising given his pedigree and the fact that he’s in rookie ball. Opposing hitters are hitting a cool .231/.231/.231 against him. No, that’s not a typo. He’s given up 6 singles through 6.2 innings pitched. He hasn’t walked anyone, and he hasn’t hit a batter. And they’ve yet to touch him up for an extra-base hit. Lodolo has also struck out 11 of the 26 batters that he’s faced (42.3%).
While it seems clear, even in a small sample size, that Nick Lodolo is just better than the competition he’s facing, there’s probably a reason he’s in Billings rather than in Dayton or even Daytona right now. It’s a lot easier to manage his innings, as a starting pitcher, in Billings. If the team wants him to begin the game, rather than work out of the bullpen, that’s far easier on the team in rookie-leagues than in full-season baseball.
The reason is simply due to the roster size. In full-season baseball the roster is 25 players. That usually leaves you with a 7 or 8-man bullpen. But in rookie-league the rosters can have up to 35 active players on it. That gives the bullpen, and pitching staff as a whole, a lot easier of a time handling a short-outing starting pitcher.
Rob Wooten to have shoulder surgery
Former Major League pitcher, and current Cincinnati Reds minor league pitcher Rob Wooten announced on Monday afternoon that he would be undergoing shoulder surgery.
With the #AllStarGame2019 and break underway, I unfortunately have had to shutdown from throwing after another setback and have decided to undergo surgery on my shoulder. It’s not been an easy few days deciding what to do but I’ve exhausted all options in trying to comeback.
— Rob Wooten (@RobWooten35) July 8, 2019
The 33-year-old was coming back from his second Tommy John surgery when he returned to the mound in 2019 with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. He made six starts for Chattanooga. In that time he walked 4 batters and struck out 24 in 28.2 innings. After that he moved up to join the Triple-A Louisville Bats. There he only made 3 starts – leaving the game on May 29th against Durham after just 3.0 innings and 64 pitches. He hasn’t pitched since. Unfortunately for Wooten, the injury turns out to be rather serious.
Dayton Dragons shake up their rotation
The Dayton Dragons have made some recent changes to their rotation. With James Marinan being placed on the injured list, the rotation now looks like this:
- Ricky Salinas
- Eduardo Salazar
- Jhon De Jesus
- Lyon Richardson
- Alexis Diaz
Both Eduardo Salazar and Alexis Diaz are new additions to the rotation. Diaz made two spot starts earlier in the season, but is now in the rotation moving forward. His last appearance came over the weekend and was a start. Last season he made nine of his eleven appearances for the Greeneville Reds as a starter.
For Salazar, his next start will be his first of the year. He’s worked in a bit of a long relief role for the Dragons this season. The right-hander has thrown 53.0 innings in 24 appearances. In 2017 he started 12 games for the Dominican Summer League Rojos. Last year made six more starts for the AZL Reds. He also made five appearances out of the bullpen on the year between his time in both the AZL and in Greeneville.
Lucas Sims wins Pitcher of the Week
Louisville Bats starting pitcher Lucas Sims took home Pitcher of the Week honors for the first week of July. On the 4th he started in Columbus and tossed 7.0 shutout innings of baseball. The right-handed pitcher allowed just one hit, walked two batters, and hes truck out 11 along the way. Sims currently leads the International League in strikeouts with 97 of them. He’s the first Bat to win the Pitcher of the Week Award this season.