The Cincinnati Reds are a popular team heading into 2020. Their aggressive spending this offseason to acquire many solid players to fill some holes in their roster has fans excited. However, it would be a shame to ignore the loaded future talent in their minor league system. Their premier talent is led by 22-year-old left-handed pitching prospect, Nick Lodolo.
Lodolo was one of the most highly respected pitching prospects coming out of high school. As a result, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Lodolo with the 41st pick in the 2016 draft. However, instead of joining the major league organization, he decided to sign with Texas Christian University Baseball. He had three successful years of college ball, with his final junior season making him stand out from the rest. In 16 starts, he lead the starting staff with a 2.36 ERA, while striking out 131 batters in 103 innings. His 131 K’s were good for 4th most in single-season program history.
Minor League Report
Given Lodolo’s college dominance, he was poised for a high end first round pick in the 2019 draft. The Reds were confident in selecting him with the 7th overall pick. The southpaw was the first pitcher taken in his draft class.
The general consensus of scouts say Lodolo is set to make a big impact at the Major League level. MLB Pipeline has Lodolo ranked 48th overall on their top 100 prospects list. In addition, he is the 5th highest ranked left-handed pitcher. He has a 55 overall ranking on MLB Pipeline’s 20-80 prospect scale.
He finished the end of his season last year with the Dayton Dragons, the Reds Class A affiliate. In his limited time, he tossed 18 1/3 innings while fanning 30 batters and limiting his ERA at 2.45. Additionally, he exemplified strong control of his pitches by never walking a single batter.
Lodolo has a powerful three-pitch arsenal that he boasts on the mound. According to MLB Pipeline, his fastball is in the low 90’s topping out of 96 mph. Standing six-foot-six, his large stature allows him to project his fastballs downhill, while adding plenty of sink. His changeup is backed by efficient movement at the plate that he sells with quick arm speed. Lastly, his third option used to include a curveball, but has recently been replaced with a slider. His new weapon is in the low 80’s and he is working on developing his break and control on that pitch even more. Lodolo is developing into a high-powered strikeout threat. Each of his three pitches are above average and rated 55 on the 20-80 scale, with his control being 60.
Lodolo has only begun to show his experience at the professional level. This season will be his first full season with the team to showcase his abilities. His age, collegiate experience, and physicality will help him move up in the organization faster than his peers. However, he still has a couple years of development before we are likely to see him in a Cincinnati Reds jersey during the regular season. Cincinnati’s future is invested in him. He was a non-roster invitee in spring training, but he did not make an appearance before the season was delayed.
Already talented, Lodolo will continue to fill in to his tall and lean frame, adding strength that could push him up the prospect ranks. Nick Lodolo is a name to get familiar with as it won’t be long before he is contributing to the major league club.
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