Nick Lodolo is no stranger to the MLB draft. In 2016, the 6’6”, 185 lb. lefty rated as the number one left-handed pitcher in the state of California (ninth overall in the nation), a distinction that pressed the Pittsburgh Pirates to select him with the 41st overall pick that year. Despite a reported $1,750,000 offer from the Pirates, Lodolo decided to bet on himself and spurned the Bucs, moving to Fort Worth, Texas to don the purple and white of the TCU Horned Frogs.
Nick Lodolo 2019 MLB Draft Profile
His transition to college ball was not as smooth as many had expected, and he struggled with inconsistency during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. In 30 starts over those two seasons, Lodolo posted a 4.35 ERA in 155.2 IP, good for a 2.95 K/BB ratio (165 K/56 BB).
This season, however, the towering lefty has been a force to be reckoned with, posting a 2.39 ERA in 13 starts with 100 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 83 IP (5.26 K/BB). Both Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline rank him as the number one pitching option in the draft, making Lodolo’s 2016 decision look prescient given the likelihood that he will be selected in the top 10 (or better) in June.
Strengths of Nick Lodolo
Lodolo has three pitches that grade as ‘plus’ offerings per MLB Pipeline: Fastball, Slider, and Changeup. He routinely hits the low-to-mid-90s with his arsenal and has the ability to touch 96 MPH at his current level of development. That type of arsenal stands out to scouts, especially from a southpaw, and there may be room for more to come as Lodolo matures.
One Perfect Game scout referred to the TCU product as a projectable talent with “…seemingly plenty of room to continue filling out is frame”. A simple, repeatable delivery also stands out as a plus for Lodolo and should help him stay healthy in the seasons to come.
Weaknesses of Nick Lodolo
Despite his strong three-pitch mix, Lodolo’s ability to control those offerings has and continues to be an area that could improve. In his first two seasons at TCU, Lodolo walked 58 batters, hit 24, and loosed 10 wild pitches. He has definitely improved in those areas this season (19 walks, 8 HBP, 2 WP) but needs to continue honing his control if he is going to reach his potential post-college.
While his dominant 2018/2019 season has been hotly followed by MLB teams in need of a young, power lefty, it does stand alone as his only above-average performance at TCU. Lodolo remains a bit raw and needs to hone his craft further in order to achieve the consistency expected from a front-line starter.
Andrew Miller is an easy comparison to make for Lodolo given their similarities in size and delivery. Both possess wipe-out stuff and questions over their ability to control their offerings. While Miller struggled as a starter before finding success as a two pitch reliever, Lodolo has the potential to start at the MLB level if he can continue to hone his three-pitch arsenal.
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