The Cincinnati Reds faced off against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark in their first true exhibition game of the summer. They’ll get another one in on Wednesday evening before Opening Day on Friday evening. There were only two prospects who pitched in the game for the team on Tuesday – #2 prospect Nick Lodolo and #15 prospect Tejay Antone.

Things went a lot better for Tejay Antone than they did for Nick Lodolo on the night. Lodolo started out just fine, needing just 12 pitches to get through the inning – an inning that did include two singles. But it was the second inning that things fell apart for the young left-handed pitcher.

The first batter of the inning doubled. Cameron Maybe flew out to center to follow, but then Austin Romine doubled in a run. Then the real trouble came up as the Tigers 9, 1, and 2 hitters all went deep, connecting for back-to-back-to-back homers. Cincinnati kept Nick Lodolo in for one more hitter, Miguel Cabrera. After getting ahead 0-2, the future Hall of Famer lined a single into center field on a fastball to end the outing for the Reds 1st round draft pick from 2019.

The Metrics on Nick Lodolo

This should begin by noting that the new system being used in Major League Baseball this year for the Statcast data that will show up in Gameday is being gathered by the Hawk-Eye system. It’s a camera based system, which you can read more about here. In the past the data had been gathered by the Trackman system, which was a radar operated system. The reason I’m stating this is that we don’t know entirely just how 1-to-1 we should be comparing all of the data at this point – though the velocity aspect of it should be accurate.

AvgVelo TopVelo Balls Strikes Total
Change Up 88.1 89.1 1 1 2
Fastball 93.4 94.6 10 13 23
Slider 82.4 86.8 3 7 10
Nick Lodolo vs. Detroit Tigers | July 21, 2020 Exhibition

Unfortunately we don’t get more information right now via Statcast than velocity and pitch type for the pitchers. Exit velocity is still there for when balls are put in play. But for now it seems that spin rate is among the things we don’t get right now. Perhaps that will change in the regular season, but it doesn’t help us out right now.

I wrote about this game being a learning experience for Nick Lodolo when it was announced that he would get the start. Good or bad, there were things to learn facing big leaguers. The results weren’t what the young lefty hoped for, I’m sure. He caught too much of the plate with some pitches and big league hitters don’t miss those often. But he also got a chance to see what does and doesn’t work against the best hitters on the planet, too. That’s information he can take with him to the mound the next time he gets out there.

The Results

As noted above, the results weren’t great. Lodolo allowed 8 hits in 1.1 innings without a walk or strikeout, and without a swinging strike among his 35 pitches thrown.

1.1 8 5 0 0 3 35/21

The Metrics on Tejay Antone

Back in spring training it was the improved velocity from Tejay Antone that was one of the bigger stories from a minor leaguer perspective out in Goodyear. The right-handed starter came out throwing 96-98 MPH in short stints from the Reds bullpen in March. He took the mound on Tuesday night and we got to see how things went for more than a 1-inning stint as Antone pitched 2.0 innings against the Tigers in the game.

AvgVelo TopVelo Balls Strikes Total
Change Up 87.2 87.2 1 0 1
Fastball 95.3 96.7 2 12 14
Curveball 77.6 78.9 2 0 2
Slider 82.5 84.8 3 7 10
Tejay Antone vs. Detroit Tigers | July 21, 2020 Exhibition

The velocity that was there in the spring was there, for the most part, over two innings. Antone worked between 94.0 and 96.7 MPH with his 14 fastballs, and he pounded the zone with them. One of the things that I wondered about with Antone was how his fastball would move given the higher velocity because when he was working 89-92, the pitch had outstanding movement. If you had a chance to watch the game you probably saw, too, that the pitch still had plenty of movement on it. The slider looked strong, too. He had two swinging strikes on the pitch and three more strikes looking on it.

The Results

While Tejay Antone allowed a run in 2.0 innings, he looked pretty good while doing so. He pounded the strikezone, throwing 19 strikes out of the 27 pitches in his outing.

2.0 2 1 0 1 0 27/19

11 Responses

  1. Billy

    Wasn’t the scouting report from Fangraphs on Lodolo that they weren’t that high on him because he doesn’t have a put-away pitch? Might be something to that. (Of course, he’s still young, and it’s just one game.)

    • Jer-B

      Antone looks really good. If he doesn’t make the team, he will be one of the first called up to contribute for the bullpen this season. I wonder how the velocity would play as a starter. He could slide into the rotation next year if he could keep that consistency over 5-6 innings. If not, he’s looking looking back end of the bullpen material.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    Lodolo struggled with command inside the zone. In a small way getting humbled like this will serve him well. I think AT WORST you have an Andrew Miller type reliever. The development of the changeup and whether he can pitch 6 innings effectively will determine if he sticks as a SP.

    Antone is pleasantly surprising. We’ll see if he can maintain that velocity.

  3. Eric Davis Morgan Larkin

    I really think antone could help us this year right now in the pen ! He deserves the shot ,he has earned it ! He has swing and miss pitches and lively fast ball ! 2 more days ,let’s go reds !

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see Antone at some point in 2020. The stuff is too good not to, unless literally everyone remains healthy and produces. While you hope that happens, the likelihood of it happening has to be astronomical.

  4. MK

    When the Big Three in Dayton was Mahle, Antone, Strahan, I really thought Tejay would end up being the best of the bunch. Unfortunately Wyatt and Tejay had retarded development due to arm surgeries. It cost Wyatt his career. Hopefully last night was a good learning experience for him and I still believe he will be the best of the three.

    • Doug Gray

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Antone over the next year in terms of how he winds up being used in the big leagues. Will they keep him a starter with the hopes he can enter the rotation, perhaps next year in place of DeSclafani/Bauer? Or do they just say this stuff is going to play in the bullpen and we need it to help right now?

  5. Billy

    Doug, what kind of insight are you going to have into the doings at Prasco? Any idea what the plan is there? Intrasquads every day? If so, any chance we’ll see box scores and/or highlights?

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not really sure yet, Billy. I’m kind of waiting until there’s a full on “Prasco Park” situation going on. Right now, guys are still going back and forth between the two sites.

      But no way there’s going to be any box scores or highlights unless the players themselves pull highlights from the Reds computers and upload them themselves.

      • Billy

        Assuming you won’t be able to attend anything in person, will you be able to reach contacts for information about who is doing well?

      • Doug Gray

        Correct. No media is allowed at the Prasco site. I will be doing what I can to try and keep in touch with some who are there/have knowledge of what’s going on to provide something.