Nick Lodolo, the Cincinnati Reds 1st round pick from the 2019 draft made his Dayton Dragons debut. He would wind up throwing to big leaguer Kyle Farmer who joined the team for a rehab assignment after suffering a concussion last week with the Reds. For the most part, Lodolo seemed like he too was a big leaguer, as he just looked like a men among boys against the Great Lakes Loons. At the end of the day, the left-handed pitcher did allow a run over his 3.0 innings pitched on three hits, and he hit a batter. He also struck out five.

After a long college season where he threw 103.0 innings, and a handful of innings in Billings, the Reds have kept Nick Lodolo’s pitch count rather low. On Thursday night he threw 43 pitches. Of those 43 pitches 30 of them went for strikes.

“I was throwing a lot of strikes. The main thing was just trying to get ahead of guys, mix a little bit in there. It felt pretty good,” said Nick Lodolo after the game.

“He’s got a bright future for sure. Any pitcher who is that tall is hard to pick up. That slider is top notch. He looked really good. I faced (Chris) Sale a few times in spring training, and man, he’s got good stuff like Sale does. He pitches inside to righties like Sale does, and his sliders a sweeper,” noted Kyle Farmer after the game on what he saw from Nick Lodolo from behind the plate.

That’s one heck of a comparison made by Kyle Farmer, who also noted that he was likely heading back out on Saturday for another rehab game. This one would likely be in Louisville, and he said that the plan would be for him to be behind the plate again.

Nick Lodolo’s fastball was 93-95 MPH all night. There were 26 fastballs thrown in the game for the left-hander. 11 of them registered at 95. The slider worked between 80-83 MPH on the night and he mixed in 15 of those. There were only two change ups thrown and they were both 88 MPH.

The Loons hitters didn’t do much swinging at Nick Lodolo’s off-speed stuff. Of the 17 off-speed pitchers thrown by Lodolo, Great Lakes swung at just five. They looked at seven called strikes between the slider and change up. There were only two swinging strikes on the day – one fastball and one slider. Eight fastballs were taken for called strikes, one change up was, and five sliders were.

With the workload restrictions the Reds have for Lodolo, we may not see much more of him this season. What I saw last night looked really good, though. The fastball has movement on both planes. The slider is a wipe-out pitch. His change up still needs some work, but it’s a usable offering right now and should get better. Toss in how well he hides the ball, and his size giving him just a different angle, and you can see why he was the top rated pitcher in the entire 2019 Major League Baseball draft. The guy’s real good.

37 Responses

  1. Wes

    Great to see him bare such a vast work load. He won’t need to work his innings up to be ready for mlb as he is already there. 2021 he should break club in rotation.

    If reds are competing in 2020 Lodolo should be ready to help. Even if rotation is full a big lefty coming out of pen will surely be an added bonus.

    Great to see a fast tracker!

    • sixpack2

      You can not waste him in the bullpen in 2020. You need him to get innings and be a starter in 21/22.

    • Oldtimer

      2020 would be a rush but maybe 2021 in rotation. If he progresses and stays healthy.

      Mariano Rivera spent 5 years (as SP) in Yankees MilB system before becoming greatest closer of all time and recently inducted into HOF.

      • MA

        What’s the point? There is no exact standard for development time. So it took Rivera 5 years, it took Pedro Martinez 2. Are you saying that there is a correlation between time spent in the minors and being a HOF’er or GOAT?

        Lodolo will develop when he develops. Early showings are encouraging. It could take him no time at all or several years. Enjoy the development and hope that he reaches his potential.

      • Pete

        He looks like he has MLB stuff and composure from what I saw last night. If he is ready to join the big club in 2020 at some point, let her fly. If the Reds convert him to a reliever, I give up.

        There should be no set timetable, 2020 doesn’t have to a rush. It would be great if he pitches another game or two like this, then move him up to AA. Don’t let his talents go to waste in the minor leagues.

      • Oldtimer

        Votto spent 6 years in minors. Lodolo in majors in 2020 is plain silly.

      • reaganspad

        And Mike Leake spent 0 time in the minors before he pitched for the Reds in 2010

        And he, like Lodolo was a college pitcher. Mike Wacha, Mike Leake and David Price all were in the show the year after the draft.

        The experience Lodolo is getting now is a bonus compared to Leake. I do not recall if he signed late or if he was just shut down in 2009. The issue is building his innings more than his stuff.

        Leake had 138 innings in 2010 on 22 starts, 26 starts in 2011 (167 innings) 30 starts in 2012 (179 innings)

    • Wes

      Leake needed no minor league time….he will put up the stats when he’s ready. Dominate high A for a month and then AA for a month and that’s about all it takes….

      Most likely relief in 2020 and rotation in 2021

  2. Mark

    This guy is pretty critical to our future in 21′ or 22′ seasons.
    I think Packy Naughton is looking pretty good as well as a future big league pitcher.
    Do we dangle a Hunter Greene in a trade, do we convert him to shortstop only as other commenters have mentioned on this site?
    Maybe try and trade Roark to the Rays who need pitching, they have a pretty deep farm system may be able to get a wild card that might turn out? I wonder if the Garrett on the trade market thing would be a larger trade involving both him and Puig for more ready to contribute prospects or current big league player.

    • Oldtimer

      Puig and Roark are mid season rentals. Experience shows you don’t get that much in return given those circumstances. Mike Leake, Johnny Cute to name two examples.

      • Reaganspad

        Depends on who is trading them and if there is a Suarez or Castillo available. Granted, both of those moves were off season for a full season of Simon and Straily, but if another kid likes your marbles enough…

        What ever happened to marbles?

    • Jonathan Linn

      @ Mark – what is the reason for giving up on Green? He is only 20 years old. Let the guy pitch a while first. Trading him will bite the Reds in the butt

      • AlphaZero

        Yeah, I wasn’t really on board with drafting Greene as highly as they took him, but now that he’s in the system it would be a huge mistake to trade him at this juncture.

      • The Duke

        Hindsight says they should have taken Jo Adell or Makenzie Gore, but Greene was the near universal top player in the draft so I can’t really fault the Reds for taking him. Big props to Jim Callis for saying at the time of the draft he had Gore over Greene. Hopefully Greene comes back at some point next year at 100%, looks like his former self and gets through however much of the season he gets to pitch healthy working towards 120+ IP in 2021.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    2 changeups. This pitch is the one thing that will determine if taking this guy so high was worth it, yet they called for it just twice. Not working on your weakness in meaningless situations—I see it all the time, especially with high school and travel players. Frustrating.

    • Mo Sanford

      That was 2 thrown. But do we know how many were called for and shaken off???

    • DaveCT

      Agreed. Might just be the planned progression of introducing his pitches over the first three innings. Seems pretty standard unless a guys getting hit. But, more so, Commander of the pitches is key. Rushing guys pays no real dividends. Reed, for instance. Bailey, too. And any number of guys from the last three years.

  4. Big Ed

    He reminds me a lot of David Price. Same size and arm slot, and even has a similar little step-dance when working with nobody on.

    If so, then they probably ought to keep him away from Dennis Eckersley.

  5. haven

    Nick Lodolo Makes me want to keep most of our guys from this year. Imagine a rotation of luis castillo, alex wood, Lodolo, Roark and desco, that is a killer five. then in two years replace Roark with greene.

    • Kevin Davis

      Greene will not be in the bigs in two years. Given his injury , it will be about another year before he pitches. Then at least two more years to build his arm strength back up. I think you are looking at possibly end of 2022 or beginning of 2023 before you see Greene in the majors.

      • The Duke

        2023 is probably the soonest we see him. My guess is he isn’t pitching in games until June and only goes 60-90 IP at the most. Maybe try to get to 120 IP in 2021, 150 in 2022. That gets him to around a full season MLB workload in 2023. Unless they pull another bone headed “put him in the bullpen and then say he’s too good to take out of that role” move.

    • Oldtimer

      Roark is only signed with Reds in 2019. FA after that.

      • Haven

        Oh snap completely forgot about gray! The Greene thing is just if he’s the beast we think he might be, hell Probably not be up until 2022 at the earliest.

  6. gregmlb

    Right now is he slotted ahead of Greene in Reds top 25? Do we think he is number 1 prospect in top 25?

  7. Kyle

    I could see him being in the big league rotation maybe as early as next year if someone is injured or is ineffective. If not, he will be trying for a spot in 2021

    • The Duke

      I could see Lodolo starting next year in AA possibly if he looks lights out in spring training. Then if the Reds are competitive next year, I could definitely see him up in July/August, but that is the absolute best case scenario. If that best case scenario happens though, then he’s in the rotation to start 2021.

  8. Redsvol

    thank goodness we finally have a 1st round pitcher who looks worthy of a first round draft pick. Let’s hope for good health! The idea of drafting pitchers in 1st round who have barely pitched any innings is a ridiculous phenomena that I hope is dead in the front office.

    • Jonathan Linn

      Hyperbole? Good thing your not the GM? ?? Every MLB team would jump at the chance to trade for Greene….just like Stephen Strasburg after he had TJ.Dont kid yourself.

  9. donny

    I have one of those strong feelings that Nick Lodolo will be one of those special true Ace’s when he gets a little bigger and stronger.

  10. MK

    To think about 2020 is absurd. He isn’t even learning all he needs to learn for Class A let alone being ready for advancement. Two innings at a time isn’t even going through a line-up two times let alone the adjustments needed for three. 80%+ of the guys he pitched against in college and had success against will never throw or hit a competitive baseball again once they leave college. He has great tools and should move faster than most but not crazy fast.

    • The Duke

      I certainly think the most likely scenario is mid season 2021, but I don’t think you can rule out being up sometime in 2020 because of his limited workload now after a full college season. I think it’s very possible he starts next year in Chattanooga, depending on how he looks in spring training.