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10 things to know about Nick Lodolo

TCU lefty is Reds' top Draft pick
@_dadler
June 3, 2019

The Reds selected Texas Christian left-hander Nick Lodolo as the seventh overall pick in the MLB Draft on Monday. Here are 10 things to know about Lodolo, MLB Pipeline's No. 8 overall Draft prospect. • Lodolo is the top pitching prospect in this year's Draft. The 21-year-old southpaw stands 6-foot-6

The Reds selected Texas Christian left-hander Nick Lodolo as the seventh overall pick in the MLB Draft on Monday. Here are 10 things to know about Lodolo, MLB Pipeline's No. 8 overall Draft prospect.

• Lodolo is the top pitching prospect in this year's Draft. The 21-year-old southpaw stands 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, with an easy delivery from a three-quarters arm slot. His fastball sits around 90-94 mph with sink and can reach 96, and he also throws a tight slider and a changeup with good action.

• Lodolo's junior year at TCU has been by far his best yet. He finished the regular season 6-4 with a 2.18 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 91 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .202 batting average. Lodolo struck out 20 more batters than he did as a sophomore, his ERA was more than two full runs lower, and his batting average allowed was more than 60 points lower.

• This isn't Lodolo's first time drafted. He was picked by the Pirates 41st overall out of high school in 2016, during the first Competitive Balance round. But he didn't sign, making him the highest unsigned pick from the 2016 Draft.

• Lodolo said the Pirates "made it a very difficult decision" to not sign, but he wanted to go to school: "I really liked everyone I met from the Pirates organization," Lodolo told The Athletic recently. "But at the end of the day, my goal is to have a career in baseball, whether on or off the field. I thought it was best for me to go to school and get an education while also playing baseball."

• When Pittsburgh drafted Lodolo in 2016, he was out taking prom pictures. TCU pitching coach (and former MLB pitcher) Kirk Saarloos recalled to The Athletic that when Lodolo and his dad didn't pick up Saarloos' phone calls on Draft day, he feared Lodolo might be choosing the Pirates over TCU … but the Lodolos didn't even realize Nick had been picked.

"When neither of them answered, I figured we’d gotten fleeced," Saarloos said. "Then Nick’s dad called back and said, 'Hey, what’s up?' It was crazy: Everyone knew Nick had been drafted -- except Nick and his family."

• TCU is a baseball hotbed, but Lodolo is the Horned Frogs' highest-drafted player ever. Right now that distinction belongs to Lance Broadway, who was drafted 15th overall by the White Sox in 2005 and went on to pitch in parts of three seasons with the Sox and the Mets from 2007-09.

• Lodolo started TCU's 2019 season opener against Cal State Fullerton in the inaugural MLB4 Tournament -- a four-team elite college baseball showcase put on by Major League Baseball, with TCU, Fullerton, Vanderbilt and Virginia as this year's participants. Lodolo allowed only two runs in five innings, but took a tough-luck loss as the Horned Frogs were shut out.

• Lodolo squared off with the other top college pitching prospect in the Draft, West Virginia's Alek Manoah (selected 11th by Toronto), on May 3. Lodolo outpitched Manoah and won. He turned in a quality start -- six innings, three runs, nine strikeouts -- while the Horned Frogs scored five times off Manoah in his six innings and rolled to a 14-5 win.

• Lodolo says he feels stronger as the game goes on: "That’s usually how it is," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after throwing eight innings of one-run, nine-strikeout ball against Texas on March 22. "There’s just something, kicking into that little extra gear. At the end of the game, usually that’s when my arm feels best."

• Lodolo faced two-sport star Kyler Murray -- the recently drafted Arizona Cardinals quarterback who was the first player ever to be a first-round pick in both the MLB and NFL Drafts -- while Murray was playing for Oklahoma last year. Lodolo struck Murray out twice … but Murray also homered off him.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.