Prospect Spotlight, Nick Lodolo SP Cincinnati Reds
Nick Lodolo, 23, Cincinnati Reds
Nicholas Frank Lodolo is a 6-foot-6, 205 pound complete wrecking ball. The flame-throwing animal was drafted out of Texas Christian in the 2019 MLB draft in the first round, at number seven overall. Capri Sun should be blowing up the kids’ phone right now for sponsorship because within a year everyone will be calling him “Juice”. With what is going on with the Baseball Hall of Fame, maybe that is a poor nickname, but you guys know what I’m getting at. Let’s use Nick’s middle name instead: Frank’s hot sauce, give him a call! Hawt Sauce Lodolo. The kid is an absolute hurler. His tall frame gives him natural sink to his mid to upper 90s fastball, and his repertoire also includes a wipeout slider and an improving curveball. The best part about him is it’s coming from the left-hand side. Good Luck hitters.
Originally, Lodolo was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Competitive Balance Round A in 2017 out of high school, but he decided to honor his commitment to TCU. Luckily for the Cincinnati Reds, after some college seasoning and a little hot sauce, Lodolo is ready to make his mark in the bigs as soon as the latter part of the 2022 season, if not sooner.
Lodolo had a darn good 2019 with an ERA sitting at 2.45 in 8 games started and 18.1 innings pitched. His resume also included ZERO walks and 30 strikeouts, a WHIP of 0.98, while throwing a strike on 71 percent of his pitches. Settle down Brian, it’s just the pioneer league. I didn’t have the chance to watch him pitch in Billings, Montana for the Mustangs and I am ashamed of myself for missing that opportunity. I really wish we could hear about some stats from the 2020 instructional league because I am sure he was sending everyone back to the dugout looking foolish.
In 2021, Nick started at the ever-important Double-A level and, while it usually hits pitchers unnaturally hard, Hawt Sauce (yup it’s a thing now) came in and started 10 games, pitching 44 innings while producing a miniscule 1.84 ERA, striking out 68 hitters, and only walking 9. Hitters only mustered a laughable .196 average against him. Since he walked through Double-A he was called up to Triple-A, resulting in just a small hiccup. He finished the level with a 5.40 ERA in just 6.2 innings over three games started. Wipe that from your mind please because we have a 23-year-old with a minor league career 2.35 ERA in 69 innings pitched, with 108 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.97.
The Reds certainly don’t have any easy decisions to make with the pitching staff that includes Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, Wade Miley, Vladimir Gutierrez, Tejay Antone, Micheal Lorenzen and, whom I believe to be Lodolo’s running mate, Hunter Greene all in the mix for a starting rotation spot. We know Castillo and Mahle are locks and with what kind of money they have tied up into Gray and Miley we may need to wait for the trade deadline before we see Greene or Lodolo. A future pitching staff of Castillo, Mahle, Greene, and Lodolo has to have all Reds fans salivating.