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!

22 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. Reaganspad

    Sounds like you are done with Hunter Green.

    I’m not

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

  10. Wesley Jenkins

    6’5 — Nick’s got me by an inch 🙁

  11. 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

  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!

  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.

  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.

  15. Amarillo

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

    • 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.

  16. Mark Lang

    .-.. — -.- — .-.. — isn’t any worse. -.-. … .- .. — ..