The last time we had a chance to see Nick Lodolo in action was before the season began when Detroit came in early and he made the start in one of the exhibition games. It was a tough day for the Reds 2019 1st round pick as he allowed 8 hits, including three home runs, in 1.1 innings before he was replaced on the day. The left-handed starter threw 35 pitches in the game. 23 of them were fastballs, nine were breaking balls, and three of them were change ups. That breakdown of pitch selection mirrors much of how he pitched after being drafted, too. He didn’t pitch much after the draft, throwing just 18 innings between his time in Billings and Dayton, but he didn’t throw the change up often.

Word coming out of Prasco, though, is that the change up has made real strides. “He continues to be an absolute sponge” is how one person described Lodolo’s time at Prasco, and that it’s been great for him to be around guys like Derek Johnson, Caleb Cotham, and Lee Tunnell (all three of the big league clubs pitching coaches), as well as the professional teammates that he otherwise may not have been around this year in a more traditional kind of season.

“He’s made really good strides with his change up, which has proven to be a real weapon at Prasco.” – A good sign about the 4th pitch in his arsenal, and one that was clearly behind the others coming into the year.

He’s continuing to develop as a starting pitcher and working on a 5-day schedule as he would if there were a season being played. Last season between TCU and his short time pitching after the draft, Nick Lodolo threw 121.1 innings before his season was shut down in order to keep his workload on track. With how 2020 has unfolded, it’s unlikely that he’ll match that this season – but he should be able to at least have a solid base from this year to work from.

There’s still about five weeks remaining in the Major League season. We don’t know if the Reds are going to need to call on Nick Lodolo at the big league level or not. Right now they have a full rotation of pitchers, and two guys at the big league level in Tyler Mahle and Tejay Antone who would seem to be ready to jump into the rotation if needed (and they have been at times this year). Things can change in the snap of the finger, particularly in 2020.

If the organization doesn’t need the left-handed starter to come up to the big leagues this year, he’ll at least have built up his innings somewhat during the year and done so in a way many of his minor league counterparts didn’t have the opportunity to do. It’s been a weird season for everyone. For Lodolo, even if he’s not in the Majors, what he’s been able to do certainly puts him in a better position for 2021 than most guys who had to work from their home town and scramble to try and find other guys to work out with, to work remotely with their coaches, try to find enough hitters in their area who had a chance to give them actual feedback that’s useful.

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5 Responses

  1. MK

    I have long thought the Reds approach to developing pitchers. The idea that Hunter Greene threw 4 innings at Billings after being drafted wasted his first year and then Starting out at an inning, then two the following. Then when building all the way up to four he hurt himself. The kid had so few pitches to throw he overdid it and hurt himself. The ides was to ease him in so he wouldn’t blow out his arm. So how did that workout. Lodolo had limited innings because of his college innings but what it ended up doing was giving him minimal professional experience, two years in. He and Hunter are oneS especially they should have sent to Corky Miller’s Nerd Herds to actually pitch in games under one of their own coaches eyes.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Agreed. I think this covid season is positively disrupting the notion that a player needs years for things to click. One size does not fit all, yet that has been the Reds approach to development. The light comes on for the truly cream of the crop type guys much sooner… only need to look around baseball to see how many under 24 players are hitting the ground running. the Reds are conciously choosing not to field their best roster.

      • Alex

        What Players are the reds not using that they should be using ? Only one I can think of is maybe Stephenson. He might have things he is working on still though. I wouldn’t know. Offinsively Stephenson is ready not to sure about behind the plate

  2. MK

    Watching one of my DVR’ed Korean games from last week. One of their Guests was the GM of the Southern League Tennessee Smokies. The discussion got to contraction of teams and the Southern League. He said he thought Chattanooga is going to be safe, but also said Appalachian League will most certainly turn into a Collegiate League meaning no Greeneville, which we expected.

  3. Brad

    I wish the Reds would understand that when they claim a player off waivers that player wasn’t wanted by their previous team. Can find a gem, on occasion. But Reds rely on it far too often. They prioritize waiver type guys over actual system prospects. Galvis, Casali, Payton, Jankowski, Raley, Nate Jones, Thornburg (minor league FAs).