Former TCU pitcher Nick Lodolo will make his Major League debut this afternoon for the Cincinnati Reds against the Cleveland Guardians.
After being drafted No. 7 overall in the 2019 MLB draft, Lodolo spent last year split between Double-A team Chatanooga and Triple-A team Louisville where he pitched a combined 2.31 ERA with an impressive 38.8% strikeout rate. Of course, by now he’d be expected to have two years of experience under his belt, but there was no minor league baseball season in 2020 which makes this quick promotion even more impressive.
The majority of prospects spend an average of 3-6 years in the minor league system before getting the call up to the big leagues, but Lodolo earned the promotion after just one full season of pitching.
He ranked as the top pitching prospect in the Reds pipeline and was also ranked the No. 42 prospect in MLB.com’s Top-100. Often described as “one of baseball’s most promising young pitchers,” Lodolo has a lot of expectations heading into his first career MLB start.
For Reds fans, this may seem all new and exciting, wondering what they’re going to see out of their recent top-10 draft pick. For TCU fans, we already know what Lodolo is capable of.
No exaggeration, Lodolo was a monster for the Frogs. In his three years at TCU, the 6-foot-6 lefty earned an array of accolades to coincide with his impressive statistics. 2019 2nd-team All-American, 2017 collegiate freshmen All-American, and a three-time All-Big 12 selection just to name a few.
Lodolo finished his final season with the Frogs with a 2.36 ERA, 135 strikeouts, and just 25 walks in over 100 innings pitched.
Now the California native will bring his arsenal of a mid-90s fastball, a sweeping slider, and a gnarly changeup to the biggest stage in baseball.
Timing wise, this move couldn’t have worked out better for the former Horned Frog. Now that Cincinnati traded away Sonny Gray and dropped Wade Miley via wavers, there is a wide-open spot in the Reds rotation just waiting to be claimed by a young prospect.
His tenure in the MLB is yet to be determined, but all signs point to Lodolo earning a full-time roster spot if he performs in his debut today.
You can catch the Reds vs Guardians on Bally Sports Ohio or MLB Extra Innings. First pitch is set for 11:35 a.m. CST.