If you’re here for a rah-rah, Go Reds! kind of take on the draft last night, let me be the first to take the air out of that balloon. Or the 300th. Seems like everyone’s on the same “Eh, fine”-page for this year’s draft.
The Reds took Nick Lodolo, a tall lefty from Texas Christian University, though I’m sure you know that already. Doug Gray wrote a quick reaction last night, summing up the pick with: “The Reds get the top pitcher in the draft. While the draft is considered to be a bit weak, landing the top pitcher in the draft while selecting 7th is rare. In fact, this is the lowest spot that the first pitcher has EVER been selected in the draft. ”
Personally, I’m partial to the Reds own President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams’ reaction: “There’s a lot to like about Nick Lodolo,” Williams told the Enquirer. “He’s left-handed, and he’s big. He can throw hard. He’s got a four-pitch mix, so our guys think he has a very good chance to stay a starter.”
Williams informed us that Lodolo has a) a body, b) a big body, c) four pitches, and d) one of them that can be described as “hard.” Truly, what else could you want in a pitcher?
Sarcasm aside, the Reds really didn’t have much of choice with the seventh pick. The six best players in the draft were off the board and anyone they took could be considered a reach.
Shea Langeliers, the Baylor catcher FanGraphs linked to the Reds at one point, would have been a near carbon copy of guy already in the Reds system, Tyler Stephenson. Except, shorter, lighter, and with less future potential again according to FanGraphs.
Josh Jung, drafted eighth after the Reds pick, scooted up from the mid-teens projections late in the draft cycle, though his name has been floated since the 2018 edition. He’s a strong hitter, but decidedly worse than seven other hitters on the board which is less than ideal for an eighth pick. Also, in the Reds system, he would be the fourth-best third baseman at-best, which is a tough row to hoe when two guys ahead of you are still younger than 25.
And Hunter Bishop, perhaps the only other prospect on the board at seven worthy of the pick, has the classic “put up an incredible junior year at a Power 5 program after two years of scuffling” profile. He’s a toolsy outfielder with a lot of power and a lot of holes through the zone. A 23 percent strikeout rate in college does not bode well for the future, but maybe the Giants can help his plate discipline.
That’s it. Those are the three main guys the Reds missed out on. Not exactly worth rioting or even tweeting in disagreement. Doug put it best saying the Reds took the best pitcher available and taking the best pitcher is usually a pretty good strategy. Do I trust the Reds player development system not to break him? No, not really but there’s new leadership now so maybe Lodolo will be the next Homer Bailey! But like early career Homer Bailey. Not 2018 Homer Bailey. You know what, forget I mentioned Homer Bailey.
Would this post be better if JJ Bleday had fallen to seven or the Orioles had decided to throw everyone’s Monday into disarray by taking Bobby Witt or Andrew Vaughn? Yes, so very much so. But instead here we are, wallowing in the non-chaotic mundane and waiting for something particularly interesting about Nick Lodolo to appear from the ether so I can make this column worth reading.
In conclusion, here are the ten most interesting things I can find about Nick Lodolo:
- He’s left-handed.
- He’s big.
- He throws hard.
- He has a four-pitch mix.
- Did I mention he’s tall? He’s taller than I am, and I’m the kind of tall that compels people to stop me on the street to ask how tall I am and then quietly whisper “wow” when I reply. That’s what we call “inconvenient in regular society tall.” I hope the Reds clubhouse has high doorways for poor Nick.
- He locked his Twitter last night, which is a) brilliant and b) somewhat limiting my information-gathering abilities. In his cover photo, he kind of resembles a young Clayton Kershaw so that’s encouraging. He also has more followers than people following which is a classic celebrity move. And he uh….goes by Nick? Like just Nick. I don’t know about that one: Nick Lodolo really feels like a firsty-lasty kind of name to me, but I guess whatever floats his boat.
- Dick Williams says he’s seen Nick throw 97, which is a good deal harder than what Nick has thrown in real live games. Maybe young Nick is still growing. Imagine how tall he’ll be then. Poor Nick.
- I went to TCU once to move my sister in for undergrad. That has nothing to do with Nick Lodolo except maybe they know each other. That’d be pretty cool.
- Nick describes himself as a “very calm guy.”
- Trevor Bauer compared him to Cole Hamels and Blake Snell and said some other stuff about his biomechanics that seemed positive.
Rah-rah, Nick Lodolo. Go Reds!