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:

  1. He’s left-handed.
  2. He’s big.
  3. He throws hard.
  4. He has a four-pitch mix.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Nick describes himself as a “very calm guy.”
  10. 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!

39 Responses

  1. Satchmo

    Am I the only person that takes some sadistic pleasure that we signed Lodolo when the Pie-Rats couldn’t?

    I have confidence that the Reds brass will teach him to throw the pill past hitters instead of at them.

    Reply
  2. matthew hendley

    Is that true, he turned down a first round pick from the pirates to sign with the Reds. Clint Hurdle has just green lighted throwing at 7 batters in response

    Reply
      • Gonzo Reds

        Being compared to Joey Gallo. SS now but will likely end up at 1B.

        Of course, if we don’t pay him perhaps over the value of his slot he’s going to be playing for LSU next year…

  3. SultanofSwaff

    I would’ve much preferred Rutledge, but I get that Lodolo has a higher floor and is a ‘safer’ pick. Given his age, we’ll know rather soon whether the pick will pay dividends. The videos I saw had him sitting in the 90-91 range, so not sure about the ‘throws hard’ claim. Maybe the offspeed stuff is so good that he can be effective regardless. Works for a lot of lefties.

    Reply
  4. WVRedlegs

    We tanked for 4 years for this? Hunter Greene, Jeter Downs, Stuart Fairchild in 2017, Jonathan India, Lyon Richardson and Josiah Gray in 2018, and now Nick Lodolo and Rece Hinds in 2019. The picks in the first 2 rounds for the Reds. Two of those have since been traded for 1 year of Yasiel Puig.
    Holy crap. Not one foundational piece in the group. Not one.
    This is NOT what the Cubs and Astros did in their rebuilds. They got ML cornerstones, or starters at the very least. The Astros drafted Altuve, Correa, Springer, and Bregman. The Cubs drafted Kris Bryant, Baez, Schwarber, Almora, and traded for Rizzo and Russell.
    The Reds have drafted Nick Senzel and …..crickets.
    We Reds fans suffered through the indignities of 4 losing seasons, 90+ loss seasons, for this??????

    Reply
    • David

      Not to mention Nick Howard and Nick Travieso, who were earlier first rounders.

      India may yet “pan out”, but in the last 10 or so years, only Mike Leake and Senzel really seemed to have demonstrated the value of first round picks
      Poor Devin Mesoraco COULD have been good, but just go so injured.
      I think Frazier was a bridge or compensation pick (not truly first round) and so was Mike Lorenzen.
      Yeah, in baseball, your first round pick has to be good. Maybe Lodolo is only a year or two from the bigs, and will move fast in the minors.
      The Reds are where they are in large part because of poor drafting.

      Reply
      • CP

        I agree with the crux of your statement that the Reds are where they are partly due to poor drafting, but Howard, Travieso, Leake, Mesoraco, Frazier, Lorenzen…none of them were part of this rebuild.

    • Reaganspad

      Sounds like you are done with Hunter Green.

      I’m not

      Reply
      • David

        I don’t know whether your comment was directed at me or WVRedlegs, but there is still hope for Hunter Greene. It’s just that the odds are long, and he is years away from the ML. Teejay Antone had Tommy John surgery, and seems to be bouncing back at AA ball. Others….not so much. I’m sure he’s a great kid and working hard, but sometimes things don’t work out.
        And to the comment about players that are not part of the present rebuild: The Reds wouldn’t necessarily be in rebuild if they had drafted better. Bad drafts = no talent from minors. Imagine if the 2016 or 2017 Reds had much better pitching, because the team had drafted better. Drafted better position players, and then traded for pitching they need. Their overall drafting strategy has not been good. And under the Jocketty regime, few young players were promoted onto the roster. Instead we got veteran presence.

    • CP

      Altuve was an international signing, he wasn’t drafted, but based on your past behavior, I’m not sure you could have handled what the Astros did to draft those players anyway. The Astros lost nearly 40 more games than the Reds didn’t during their tank years vs. the Reds prime tank years.

      Baez was drafted ahead of Epstein’s arrival which was when the Cubs began tanking proper so I’m not sure if they should even be included. The Cubs drafted well under Epstein, but the drafted players haven’t done as well as people think outside of Bryant. Almora, Schwarber, and Happ have 2+ fWAR season between them…it’s been all the other acquisitions (trade or FA) that they’ve crushed things. Arrieta, Lester, Chapman, Hendricks, Fowler, Rizzo, Russell, Zobrist, Heyward, Montero, Hammel). You aren’t exactly comparing apples to apples.

      Reply
      • CP

        *Almora, Schwarber, and Happ have a single 2+ fWAR season between them (although Almora is on pace to hit 2 this season), Happ is in the minors and Schwarber is stuck at 0.2 fWAR.

  5. Seat101

    I enjoyed the article. But let’s get down to brass tacks. You had a choice of discussing his first name or his last name and you picked his first?

    The only thing more interesting about his first name then his last name is how it looks in Morse code -. .. -.-. -.-

    Reply
  6. jreis

    the reds make me pull my hair out. the few strands I have left. why draft pitchers? they get injured. they rarely make it to the bigs. they play every fifth game. the best pitchers in the game are well in to their 30s. did I mention they get injured.

    If Hunter Greene makes a start in a major league game I will eat my sweaty gym sock. If this kid even makes a pitch in a major league game I will eat two of them.

    the reds have been best at resurrecting older pitchers careers not developing young pitchers so why keep trying? I would continue drafting the young athletic position players In the early rounds at least.

    Reply
    • David

      Well, Lodolo is not as far away as Hunter Greene WAS when he was drafted. Hunter Greene was a truly phenom athlete when drafted, but I agree he has less than a 50% chance of getting to the Bigs.

      I have my doubts if they can sign Hinds. He has already committed to LSU. That may be a wasted draft pick, unless he has privately agreed to sign if drafted.

      Reply
    • BigRedMike

      I agree. Not sure why the Reds would draft a pitcher. Young talented position players is what the organization needs.

      Pitchers get hurt, so, drafting talented pitching is not bad in regards to having more of them. Hopefully, he moves to the 25 man roster quickly and is effective.

      As noted, talent in the Organization allows for trades as the Astros and Cubs have shown.

      Reply
    • greenmtred

      Cueto, Leake, Castillo and–yes–Bailey did okay being developed by the Reds. You’re statement about the best pitchers being in their 30’s says something about pitchers–thery often take awhile to hit their stride. They aren’t the only players who get injured, either–Mesoraco?–and, while I get the point about drafting position players and getting pitchers off the scrap heap , that strategy isn’t proprietary, so if it works (and I’m not convinced that excellent pitching isn’t important), the scrap heap will get pretty barren as most teams follow it.

      Reply
  7. Hotto4Votto

    I understand the pick, but it’s not exciting. I’d have preferred Stott.

    Reply
    • Shchi Cossack

      Stott was an option the Old Cossack found very interesting, but any selection the Reds made at #7 was fraught with risk. This was simply a bad draft to have a selection in the top 15 if you weren’t selecting in the top 2.

      Reports on next year’s rule 4 draft appear to be very optimistic for good and deep talent. Unless the Reds make some hay soon, we may be looking at another top 10 selection in 2020. If that’s the case, I really hope the organization can accumulate some tradeable comp picks between now and then and put one more solid and deep draft class in the books before they begin drafting with the other playoff teams for a decade or so. And for heaven’s sake, start signing some real international talent to augment minor league coffers!

      Reply
  8. James Cox

    Alek Manoah was the Pitcher of the year in the Big 12. He went 11th to Jays. I hope the Reds took the right pitcher.

    Reply
  9. CI3J

    So how tall are you, Wesley?

    For the record, I’m the same height as Eugenio Suarez.

    Reply
  10. Old-school

    Lodolo is the best pitcher in the draft abd a big lefty. Derek Johnson is essentially the pitching czar for the Reds organization. Let’s give the Reds, Johnson and Lodolo a full year. This will be Johnson’s first true elite prospect he gets from Day 1. This is why Johnson came to the Reds and left the Brewers. I’m sure he got a voice in the draft room.

    Reply
    • doofus

      Good insight. I never thought about the potential Derek Johnson factor on Lodolo.

      Reply
    • MrRed

      But it should be noted that Derek Johnson disclaimed any involvement in drafting Lodolo: https://theathletic.com/1011259/2019/06/04/derek-johnson-talks-the-state-of-reds-pitching-and-top-pick-nick-lodolo/

      That makes sense if you think about it, because outside the top 2 picks, you don’t know who’s going to fall to you and you just have to pick the player you think has the most upside.

      I do think it will be interesting to see how Johnson implements a development strategy for minor league pitchers. Would be nice if there was a “Red’s Way” of development that’s more successful than the last several decades have been.

      Reply
  11. WVRedlegs

    Cards have a lefty going tonight. The bench is Dietrich, Winker, Vanmeter and Barnhart. All RH hitters are on the deck. Peraza in LF and Farmer at 2B.

    Reply
    • Roger Garrett

      Just will never get it how Winker is a platoon guy.Don’t care about his numbers vs lefties,don’t care about the numbers the guy has that is playing in left field tonight.He should play every day even if he faced Carlton,Koufax,Kershaw, and any other great lefty.He has less then 700 at bats in the big leagues and he is now a platoon guy.What’s even worse is the Reds don’t even use the best option in Ervin to platoon him with.He is setting down in AAA and his numbers are better then Puig’s, the guy starting tonight in left and Winker’s.Looks like its a lost cause on Winker so maybe the cry ought to be free Ervin.I am not anti the guy in left tonight I am just pro Winker and pro Ervin

      Reply
  12. Sabr Chris

    This is a great case for trading draft picks. If the Reds aren’t sold on a one guy at 7, trade back if another team is targeting a certain player. Like what happens in every other league!

    Reply
    • MrRed

      Except in most other league’s the first round picks are expected to contribute right away. Not so with baseball. Just go with the best talent and hope it works out.

      Reply
  13. Earl

    Reds don’t have too much luck finding and developing pitching in the draft. So if Lodolo hits even decent, that’s good news.

    Only way the Reds will get good on a regular basis is if they improve their player development, so I hope for the best.

    Reply
  14. Nate

    You can put me on the ecstatic bus with the Lodolo pick. Given the options at 7 I really thought he was the best option from my limited reading leading up. I don’t think he will be an ace but could easily be a solid #3 that is ready to go when Gray’s contract expires. Time will tell.

    Reply
  15. Amarillo

    Lodolo was the best player available. Why are people so angry?

    Reply
    • Lwblogger2

      No idea. Honestly, for a few people, there is very, very little that the Reds do right. I’ll do my share of complaining but the draft and amateur scouting are not areas where I have a ton of expertise. Nor are the so-called pundits often right. The Rule 4 draft and amateur scouting in baseball is a very inexact science.

      Reply

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