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.

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:

  1. Ricky Salinas
  2. Eduardo Salazar
  3. Jhon De Jesus
  4. Lyon Richardson
  5. 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.

20 Responses

  1. Billy

    Is that order to the Dragons’ rotation meaningful? Is it just the order they happen to be lined up at the moment, or is it more an indication of the current talent level (the way we’d think of a 1-5 rotation at the MLB level)?

    • Doug Gray

      Rotations are rarely lined up in the order of “talent”. Even in the Majors.

      • Billy

        I get that. But there is an order there. You prefer to have your #1 pitcher pitch vs. your #2 pitcher. The #5 is the weakest option among the rotation. I’m simply asking if that’s what the numbers in the post imply, or if their simply showing the order that the pitchers are throwing in right now.

      • Doug Gray

        It’s simply the order they are pitching in.

  2. Bromleyjake

    Does anybody else think that the Reds should be pursuing Marcus Stroman? They seem to have the pieces to get the job done and if they were able to work out a similar extension as they did with Sonny, the Reds could have a formidable rotation for the next couple years after this season. That would also still leave money to upgrade or fill needs in free agency.

    If they could get him under team control through at least 2021, parting ways with Siri, Guttierez, or even India wouldn’t look too bad to me. Thoughts?

    • Alex

      Siri, Guttierez and India for Stroman? Not sure id do that but thats about what it would take i think

      • wes

        More like India, Santillian, and a 3rd piece we will cringe to see go like Naughton or Moss.

      • Bromleyjake

        Not all 3! One and then some high upside low floor guys.

    • wes

      Stroman is nice, and he would surely upgrade the rotation, but for what he would cost- Reds might as well aim higher than that. In the playoffs you need that second top of rotation piece. Stroman could be that guy, but a more high profile pitcher would be better and reds have the assets to acquire one. Mahle, India, Trammell, Santillian could all be dealt and not severely missed and all have tons of value. Reds strikeout on DeGrom/Scherzer/Greinke and that secondary group of Bumgarner/Strman/Boyd comes into play- Stroman is surely a quality consolation prize.

      • Bromleyjake

        The allure of Stroman would be the cost compared to other guys and the potential he might sign an extension ala Sonny.
        Maybe I should have been more clear. I don’t think it would take 3 of our top 5 prospects. I think that is the upside with Stroman as opposed to Syndergaard for example. Deal could potentially be done for maybe India, Santillan and Mahle/lower tier prospect. Stroman may not be a true Ace but he might be just a step below Castillo. Cadtillo, Gray and Stroman would potentially be the best starting pitching rotation in the division. And with Stroman being relatively inexpensive, maybe 12-14 mil a year, the Reds could take 30 million and go after Bumgarner, Cole, it Sale. Castillo, Cole, Gray, Stroman, Fillinblank.
        Now that’s a dream rotation!

    • A.B.

      I don’t know, the rotation’s about the least of my concerns right now. I’d almost rather see if we can re-sign Roark to a team-friendly 3-4 year deal than give up talent for Stroman.

      • Colorado Red

        Note sure I want to give a 32 going on 33 year old pitcher 3 or 4 years.
        2 or 3 at the max

    • Norwood Nate

      He’s someone I wanted the Reds to target this offseason. Now that he’s bounced back some the cost may be a little higher. Still I’d like to see him a target for the deadline. If it took India, Gutierrez, and Siri or similar range of prospects I’d pull the trigger.

  3. wes

    2022 Dream Rotation (in order of talent ; ))


    • RedsKoolAidDrinker

      Since it’s been asked regarding a different level, I’ll ask you. Is this rotation in order of thetalent iyo?

      • Wes

        Every rotation I’ve ever seen had been listed in order of talent. Guess a mid season AA adjusted rotation may be the exception though

    • MBS

      I just did my 21 pitching staff the other day, it’s similar to yours.

      Castillo, Green, Lodolo, Gray, Moss (Starters) 5 – 6 innings, avg 32 appearances

      The way Bell has a quick hook, I think it’s important to the future health of the pen to have 4 guys who can get you 2 to 3 innings, or basically up to 1 time through the order.

      Mahle, Reed, Santillian, Gutierrez (2nd Starters) 2 -3 innings, avg 32 appearances

      Then bring in the closer(s) to finish out the games, and you can still use these 3 in a more traditional role, by having them pitch the 7, 8, 9. But primarily only the 9th.

      Iglesias, Garrett, Lorenzen (Closers) Avg, 65 appearances

      This is the way I see baseball going. I think the “opener”, and “bullpenning” are too flawed. This way you don’t overwhelm your pen with to many appearances

  4. Alex

    There is always alot of teams looking for starting pitching. So we would be competing against everyone else for these guys. Basically the team that overpays the most gets the guy. I’m not sure the reds should be trading for guys. If we do that we most likely aren’t going to be trading our pieces? We should trade scooter, puig, roark at least

  5. Mustang John

    Mustangs left last night for 8game road trip to Colorado. I’ll be shocked if Lodolo comes back to Billings.