We knew it was coming, but it’s still a day of mixed emotions for TCU Baseball fans, as the Horned Frogs’ ace was drafted tonight in the first round by the Reds.
Lodolo, who was a compensatory pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school (#41 overall), but elected to head to Fort Worth instead, spending three years as a front line starter for the Horned Frogs. It seems his gambled paid off, as he jumped 34 spots in the draft and likely earned himself several million dollars more - and he clearly has no regrets. “When you are 17 and you make that decision to turn down $1.75 million, that’s a gamble on yourself that not too many kids would take. I believed in myself. I knew TCU was the place for me. The coaches here are unbelievable. They made me so much better on and off the field and as a person too. I couldn’t be more excited right now, especially getting to watch it live for the first time. Being able to watch that with friends, family and my team was awesome.”
Having started 46 games in his career, the junior owns a career mark of 18-11 with a 3.55 ERA. This past year was his best season by far, as he lowered his ERA to a scant 2.36 and struck out 131 batters with just 25 walks. He fell just short of 300 Ks for his career, reaching 296, and opposing hitters managed just a .238 average against him in his three seasons as a starter.
Anchoring the rotation this past season, Lodolo had six games with double-digit strikeouts, including a career-high 13 three different times. He pitched a career high 103 innings this past year, going at least 7.0 innings nine times.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle is excited for his star player. “We are so excited for Nick and his family for this tremendous opportunity with a great organization like the Cincinnati Reds. Nick has more than earned this. He’s done it the right way. It’s a great statement for him, his character and work ethic as well as the developmental process in our baseball program.”
A first teamAll Big 12 selection in 2019, Lodolo was a second-team member in 2018 and an All Freshman nominee in 2017. He was a freshman All American and has received multiple player of the week awards as well.
6’6” tall and just 21 years old, Lodolo is widely considered the top pitching prospect in this year’s draft. The lanky lefty throws three pitches for strikes - a fastball that sits 90-94 MPH and is complemented with a wicked slider and a nasty change. He gets great movement on his pitches and keeps hitters off-balance by mixing things up and using all parts of the plate.
The first Big 12 player selected and the fourth collegiate player picked overall, Lodolo is the first pitcher off the board at any level. The #7 pick carries with it a $5.43 million slot value, making Nick a very wealthy man. He is the highest drafted Horned Frog, beating TCU’s other first round selection, Brandon Finnegan, who went #17 overall to the Kansas City Royals in 2014. Previously, Lance Broadway (15th to the White Sox) and Andrew Cashner (19th to the Cubs) were also first round picks.
TCU is expected to see several other players selected this week notably fellow left handed pitcher Brandon Williamson, center fielder Johnny Rizer, outfielder Josh Watson, and pitcher Jared Janczak. Slugger Jake Guenther could also be chosen in the middle rounds.
Congratulations, Nick, and thank you for an amazing three years.