Tonight will be a big night in Dayton as Cincinnati Reds 1st round pick Nick Lodolo will be taking the mound for the Dragons. As far as I can tell, there will also be a decent contingent of Redleg Nation there, too (four of us as far as I know). On Wednesday the left-handed pitcher spoke with some of the media in Dayton prior to the game. Give it a watch/listen below.
The 6′ 6″ lefty is coming off of a season where he threw 103.0 innings with a 2.36 ERA at TCU before the draft. The Reds selected him 7th overall. They sent him to Billings where he made six starts for the Mustangs, but was very limited in his usage. Over those six starts he only threw 11.1 innings where he allowed 12 hits, 3 earned runs (2.38 ERA), walked no one, and he struck out 21 of the 46 batters that he faced.
Jonathan India, Stuart Fairchild out to strong starts in Double-A
It’s been a very short stay for Jonathan India thus far in Double-A. The 2018 1st round pick of the Cincinnati Reds just got promoted to join the Chattanooga Lookouts on Monday. But India has made an impact in that short stay, too. He’s gone 5-for-11 (.455) with a walk, he’s been hit by a pitch (.538 OBP), and stolen two bases.
It’s not just Jonathan India that’s making a quick impact for the Lookouts, though. 2017 2nd round pick Stuart Fairchild is also on fire for Chattanooga. He had a very brief call up earlier this year to Double-A, but he’s been back for the last week and he’s kept on hitting. Through his 10 games with the Lookouts this season he’s hitting .357/.471/.571 with 3 walks, 3 doubles, a home run, 2 steals, and just 5 strikeouts.
Keep an eye on Joel Kuhnel
The Reds bullpen was outstanding in the first half of the year, mostly. It’s been more than a bit shaky in the second half. In the last month or so the Reds have reached into Triple-A and called up a few pitchers to fill in for the bullpen. Sal Romano was the most recent, but Lucas Sims – who filled in as a starter yesterday, and Jimmy Herget have both been recent call ups as well.
All three of those guys were in Louisville and having varying degrees of success. But there’s a guy that hasn’t been called up with a chance to be a difference maker in the near future for the Cincinnati Reds bullpen: Joel Kuhnel. The right-hander was the teams 11th round pick back in the 2016 draft out of Texas Arlington.
He began this season in Double-A Chattanooga, posting a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings with 8 walks (3 intentional) and 30 strikeouts. That performance earned Kuhnel a promotion to Triple-A Louisville just over a month ago. He’s made 11 appearances since then, and it was only the very first one that saw him allow a run. That puts his ERA at 0.79 for the Bats. Over his 11.1 innings he’s struck out 12 batters and walked 4. On the season between his two stops he’s posted a 1.91 ERA across 47.0 total innings.
Joel Kuhnel isn’t on the 40-man roster right now. That’s probably the only reason he hasn’t been one of the pitchers called up at this point. The numbers have been dominant. And it’s not like he doesn’t have the stuff, either. He sits in the upper 90’s with his fastball, touches triple-digits, and has a put-away offspeed pitch.
Fidel Castro, yes, Fidel Castro is heating up
I’ve been writing about the Cincinnati Reds farm system at RedsMinorLeagues.com since January of 2006. There have been a few times that I’ve done some outstanding work there and felt that it didn’t reach nearly as many people as I felt it should have. And then there’s the times where something I wrote reached tens of thousands of people that I never intended it to reach. That’s what happened last year when I wrote a simple article about how the Reds were promoting a prospect from the Dominican Summer League to the Arizona Rookie League. That players name, not anything he’d done on a baseball field had everything to do with that “viral” article. The Reds were promoting Fidel Castro to the United States.
That post was short, just over 300 words in total. But somehow the title, the name Fidel Castro, it caught the attention of people online and blew up on reddit in multiple non-baseball forums. For a few days there the traffic got crazy. It eventually slowed down.
What didn’t slow down, though, was Fidel Castro. He had hit .262/.404/.516 for the Dominican Summer League Reds last year. After his promotion he spent the next month hitting .315/.413/.519 for the Arizona League Reds.
This season he’s returned to the Arizona League. Now the 20-year-old outfielder is continuing what he started last year. Sort of. Over eight games in June he hit just .259/.300/.333 across 30 plate appearances with 14 strikeouts. But since July rolled around he’s been on fire. Over the 14 games he’s played in the month he’s hit .339/.403/.732. That’s come with 4 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 home runs. He’s drawn 6 walks and 13 strikeouts in those 62 plate appearances.