The Cincinnati Reds pitching in the minor leagues has been outstanding in the first month of the year. On Wednesday night they got two of their best performances of the year from Nick Lodolo and Evan Kravetz.

Let’s start with Nick Lodolo. He took the mound last night for Chattanooga and was coming off of the worst outing of his career. He only allowed one run against Montgomery last week, but he recorded just one out in the 4th inning before leaving the game after having walked four batters and giving up five hits. A rain out gave him an additional day of rest, making it a full week between that start and the one last night.

The rest worked. Taking on the Mississippi Braves, Nick Lodolo struck out 11 batters on 90 pitches in 7.1 innings. The left-handed starter also set a new career high in innings pitched – he had never pitched into the 6th inning before last night, but reached the 8th for the Lookouts before reaching is pitch count limit of 90.

How did his arm hold up over the night? He was still throwing 95 in the 8th inning to the one batter he faced, and that’s exactly where he was sitting in the previous seven innings, too. It seems as though Lodolo has added a little bit of spin to his slider, too. In 2019 his slider’s spin rate was in that 2500-2600 range most of the time. Last night he was reaching the 2700-2900 range with the pitch.

After the conclusion of the start, Nick Lodolo’s stats on the year, and his career – while limited in scale on both – are hilarious.

2019 Billings/Dayton 2.45 18.1 18 1 0 30 0.98
2021 Chattanooga 0.57 15.2 8 0 5 24 0.83
Total 1.59 34.0 26 1 5 54 0.91

Evan Kravetz shines in Daytona

The Daytona Tortugas have the lowest ERA in the Low-A Southeast by a wide margin. On Wednesday evening Evan Kravetz did his part to keep it that way.

The 6′ 8″ left-handed pitcher struck out 10 Jupiter Hammerheads in 5.0 shutout innings while allowing just three hits and walking no one. Kravetz threw just 84 pitches and had 50 of them go for strikes on the night.

There were nearly two full years between starts for Evan Kravetz. In 2019 he was the Reds 5th round pick and the team sent him to pitch for the now defunct Greeneville Reds. He made just one start and threw just one inning in that start before he was shut down after a long college season earlier that spring. He’s gone out and pitched like he’s been waiting forever to get back on the mound. The lefty has allowed just one run and just five hits in 11.1 innings this season for Daytona. He’s also struck out 20 of the 44 batters he’s faced to go along with six walks.

12 Responses

  1. AllTheHype

    Pretty exciting what is going on down on the farm. Must be some new vegetables or something.

  2. John

    Doug, just wondering if the success (granted, on small sample size) change your perception of Nick’s ceiling. Thoughts?

    • Doug Gray

      No. The ceiling has always – at least to me – been that of a quality #2 starter in the bigs.

      • RedsGettingBetter

        Why could not be the ceiling as an ace? Mr. Doug… By the way, Lodolo and Greene would have equal ceilings?

      • Doug Gray

        I guess it comes down to a few things: First, what is an actual ace? That depends on who you ask. To some, it’s a small group of 5-10 pitchers who are head and shoulders above the rest. To others it’s just one of the top 30 starters in the game. If your definition is the first – which to MLB scouts is the definition – then that’s not the ceiling for Lodolo. If your definition is the latter, then maybe he falls into that category. There’s nothing wrong with the latter – that’s where your Sonny Gray’s and Luis Castillo’s (at least until this year) fall. That’s a heck of a pitcher and a guy who should make a whole heck of a lot of money.

        But to answer the second question: No, the two do not have the same ceilings. Greene as the kind of stuff that could make him the best pitcher in the game. He’s working with two potential plus-plus offerings and good control. Lodolo doesn’t have one plus-plus pitch (which isn’t a problem, there are very few actual plus-plus pitches in baseball). Where Lodolo shines is that he’s got two above-average pitches, a potentially average third pitch, and real good control to go with solid command. You can get a whole heck of a lot of guys out with that profile.

  3. hunt4redsoct

    6’8″ Lefty sounds really good. Any word on what pitches he throws, velocity, etc. Tough to see Daytona sometimes.
    Had Picture-in-picture with the reds and Lookouts last night. Not many good swings at Lodolo. Very encouraging, much more than say the Reds homestand.

    • hunt4redsoct

      1st question was looking for a scouting report on Kravitz

    • Doug Gray

      Ask me again after his next start and I will get you a better answer than the one I can provide today. I know someone who is supposed to be there for the next series and can give better details then.

  4. The Rage

    The farm is the place to be for the Reds.

  5. Doc

    The ghost of Reds pitching past were lights out at GABP the past four games. The ghost of future Reds pitching has been lights out the past couple of weeks. Now if only the ghost of pitching present could approximate the ghost of pitching past and the ghost of pitching future we could say Merry Christmas everyone.

  6. Jim

    I realized that losing Bauer would cost us as much as 5 wins, but Castillo has cost us at least 5 wins and he is still on the club. Wish we had packaged him and Gray, and cleaned someone’s farm system out.