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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