When the 2019 baseball season began, Nick Lodolo was starting his junior season at TCU. The left-handed pitcher dominated the Big 12, posting a 2.36 ERA in 103.0 innings with 25 walks and 131 strikeouts for the Horned Frogs. The Cincinnati Reds used the #7 overall pick in the draft to select him, making him the first pitcher taken in the draft this past season.

After signing with Cincinnati, the Reds send Nick Lodolo to join the Billings Mustangs when their season began in late June. He was on a very limited pitch count as the team wanted to keep his innings and workload low after throwing 100+ innings in college earlier in the season. Over the first two weeks of the season he made four starts, but threw just 103 pitches across four starts. In that stretch he allowed six hits in 6.2 innings with no earned runs, no walks, and he struck out 11 batters.

In what would be his final two starts for Billings he allowed three earned runs in 4.2 innings where he gave up six hits – including the first home run of his professional career, while walking no one and striking out 10 more hitters. On July 25th he would make his debut in Low-A with the Dayton Dragons. It would be his longest outing to date in his career, allowing one run over 3.0 innings against Great Lakes where he struck out five batters without a walk. Five days later would be the final start of the year for the lefty. Taking on Bowling Greene he allowed a run over 4.0 innings – throwing a season high 49 pitches. He struck out four batters without a walk. He was shut down for the season at that point in order to not put too many innings on his arm.

For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Nick Lodolo Scouting Report

Position: Left-handed pitcher | B/T: L/L

Height: 6′ 6″| Weight: 202 lbs | Drafted: 1st Round, 2019

Fastball | The pitch works 92-94 MPH and touches 96.

Slider | A pitch he focused on more in 2019, it’s a plus offering he throws in the low 80’s with sweep and bite.

Curveball | This pitch got limited use in 2019 as he focused on the slider, but it’s still there and is a solid offering in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.

Change Up | It is a bit firm, but will flash itself as an average offering at times.

There’s a lot to like about Nick Lodolo. He’s a 6′ 6″ left-handed starter who throws tons of strikes and has plus stuff. His fastball velocity is above-average and there could be room to add a little bit as his frame has more than enough room to fill out. His slider is his go-to secondary pitch and can put hitters away with two-plane action. The curveball gives him a third average or better look, and the change up – while certainly a work in progress and a pitch he needs to throw more as he continues to develop, shows itself as a potentially fourth average or better offering.

To top off the “he’s got outstanding stuff” side of things, he throws strikes. Lots of them. In his professional debut he didn’t walk a single batter, hit just one, and he struck out 30 of the 74 hitters that he faced. Lodolo knows how to work hitters, both in terms of location and pitch sequencing. He’s about as advanced of a pitcher as you’re going to be able to draft.

You don’t have to squint very hard to see how Nick Lodolo can move quickly up the ladder in the Reds farm system and reach the Major Leagues soon. The team does have options at the big league level, and that gives them the ability to let his performance and development dictate how quickly he can move.

Interesting Stat on Nick Lodolo

He struck out 41% of the hitters he faced as a professional in his debut.

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34 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he began the year in Double-A. It’s tough to really use past precedent because there are new people running basically everything today that weren’t as recently as two years ago. But also, it’s been a decade since the team had a draft pick nearly this polished on the mound.

  1. Doc

    The control, the K’s, the projection of four plus pitches, and being a lefty are why he would be on my untouchable list, were I to have such a list.

    • rgslone

      Lodolo is certainly a very nice looking pitching prospect. But for Lindor, I would let Cleveland touch him anywhere they want.

      • Earmbrister

        Absolutely not. The Reds last drafted a southpaw pitcher in the first round about 30 years ago (and he didn’t sign). I’m not trading Lodolo for anyone not named Trout.

    • My Beloved Reds

      I agree Doc! Nick is untouchable!!! The last pitcher we had that looked this good in the minors was Bailey, and before that Chris Hammond. Neither of those turned out to be Aces, but I think Lodolo is going to be special!!!

  2. MK

    To me Lodolo and Greene are my two untouchables in the system. Lodolo reminds me a great deal of Chris Sales. I could see him move very quickly up the ladder. He could easily start at AA in ’20 ant be ready for Reds in ’21. I have a feeling the new pitching development folks are going to be a little more aggressive than the group in the past.

  3. AirborneJayJay

    With the rotation at the major league level set the way it is for 2020, there is no reason to rush Lodolo at all this year. Start him at Daytona and let him work his way to Chattanooga. Then in 2021 he can start out at AAA and go from there.
    There is absolutely no reason to include Lodolo in any trade conversations. The Reds have precious few LH starters and they have none at Lodolo’s level. Plus, they gave a very good LHP to Cleveland last year in Scott Moss.
    If you want Lindor, give up Greene and India in a NY heartbeat. No on Lodolo and Ty Stephenson.

    • Jim t

      No way I give up Greene. Anybody else but not him. His ceiling is just to high even considering the injury. Tommy john surgery is not a show stopper at all.

    • Tom

      I tend to agree this a lot. India is blocked and Greene is 4 years away if he recovers well.

  4. Jim H.

    I like the quartet of Garcia, T. Stephenson, Lodolo & Greene. Nothing against Santillian, India, Senzel or really anyone on the Reds. But to move forward, you gotta give to get.

    Wonder Lindor for Senzel & parts and move him onto the Dodgers for Seager & Verdugo? Extra year of control at SS & young CF.

    • Oldtimer

      No. Indians would not take Senzel with “parts” for Lindor. He (Lindor) is the best SS in MLB. Senzel isn’t the best anything in MLB. Senzel plus two Top 5 prospects from Reds may get Lindor in return.

      You can’t trade “parts” for the best anything in MLB.

      • Jim H.

        I didn’t mean parts as in 3 minor leaguers you never heard of. By parts, I meant India, Winker, Aquino, Galvis, Santillian, etc. Senzel & parts being attractive pieces the Indians like that we have in surplus. Mahle? Ervin? There’s plenty to choose from.

      • Oldtimer

        Senzel and two Top 5 prospects for the best SS in MLB. Lindor is one of best players in MLB now.

      • Earmbrister

        No Senzel. Only ONE top 5 prospect and lesser prospects for two years of Lindor.

      • Hanawi

        He has 2 years left and is going to cost $45 million over those two years. Then no chance the Reds sign him. I don’t think the trade market is as good as people think.

        Though the Reds overpaid for Bauer and gave away 2 top 100 prospects for nothing so who knows what they’ll do to win for 1 year

    • Fish

      There’s no way the dodgers do that. And the dodgers have lux who would almost get them lindor straight up. My preference is let them overpay for lindor, get seager on a bargain (like any 2-3 non top 5 prospects). I’m skeptical this is a world series team as constructed, no reason to blow up the future.

      • Oldtimer

        (Clipped from MLB) … If the Tribe sent Lindor to Los Angeles for Lux, outfielder Alex Verdugo and another prospect like catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 3 in Dodgers’ system), the deal would start inching closer to fruition. However, the Dodgers will likely hesitate to give up Lux. That doesn’t mean another deal couldn’t be done: Keep Verdugo and Ruiz in the mix and add in a couple of prospects such as right-hander Dustin May (No. 2) and shortstop Jeter Downs (No. 5) and possibly someone like outfielder Joc Pederson …

  5. Moses

    Is your spelling of Bowling “Greene” a Freudian slip? Getting ready to announce that #1 prospect, Doug? Let’s hope that he has such a strong career that one Kentucky town decides to change their name ever-so-slightly!

  6. sixpack

    We are close with the players we have. Add one more bat. We can fill in with the Garcia, T. Stephenson, Lodolo & Greene as we go. it has taken to long to start over in two years.

    • Tom

      Makes me wish they would’ve given Didi 20 mil, whatever, just to avoid being under leveraged. The Indians are aiming to stay relevant on the backs of some desperate teams. They are looking for another Bartolo Colon deal. At this point the Reds need to rely on their best to survive this effort.

    • Doc

      Iglesius’ stuff is still there and he has had one blip of a season in which he still set his best save mark. Plus he has a favorable contract. Combination of his pride, improved offense and Bell’s growth as a manager portends well (hey, even MLK had a dream!)

  7. Shawn

    Here’s my personal best offer ladies and gents:
    Winker or Ervin

    I believe in our window now; however, Green and Lodolo are just too valuable to give up. I would rather take my chances with galvis and see what galvis does. We’ve sacrificed a lot of potential big leaguers in the past year or two. Shed Gray and Downs, just to start the conversation there. I’m fine with that, but I couldn’t rake the top shelf out just for 2 years of Lindor.

    Show me something and we can revisit this in July. I’m not going to sell the farm to possibly make the playoffs. The last six-eight years have been too painful.

    I’ll finish by saying, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, my package will not get the job done. I also know we’re 95ish days away from opening day and need to know if that stud rotation will stay healthy. There are too many variables to go “all in” today. I think we’re being short sighted. There’s not a person on this planet that wants Lindor in Cincinatti more than me. The smile, the play, the community and the whole package, it fits. If we’re 10-20 over at the break, then sell out if you want to try to win the World Series, because if that’s not the plan, we can’t empty the cupboard and starve again from 2023-2030.

    As always this is one guys opinion, but I’m excited about this team. I’m sad to think Votto may be a drag on this team if kept at the top of the order. This is semi-relevant to the state of this team and I mean that in an extremely positive fashion.

    • Doc

      I want a multiple year run of competitiveness. Two years of Lindor doesn’t doesn’t fit my goal, especially at the cost of elite starting pitching potential. So, Shawn, yours is two mens opinion, at least!

      • Shawn

        I explicitly stated that in the last paragraph. I guess I should’ve kept it short and simply stated, I’d take a pass.

        It does make me wonder old timer. What would your personal best offer be and do you think it would have a shot at working? I read here a lot and you seem to be wise. Just asking for fun.