BILLINGS — Nick Lodolo, the Cincinnati Reds' top pick in the 2019 MLB draft, has been added to the Billings Mustangs' roster, the Reds and Mustangs announced Tuesday.
Lodolo is a left-handed pitcher from Texas Christian University who was taken seventh overall in the draft earlier this month, and he was the first pitcher selected. This past season as a junior, Lodolo allowed a 2.36 ERA, 25 walks and a .203 batting average in 16 starts. The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder also struck out 131 batters in 103 innings.
“There’s a lot to like about Nick Lodolo," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams told the Cincinnati 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. He’s got a big fastball that ticked up as time went on, so we’ve seen him up to 97. He’s got a very good slider that also improved as the year went on. He’s got a changeup and a curveball.
“Talking to his coach (Jim Schlossnagle) — he’s had a lot of good pitchers come through that program — he said Nick’s got more upside than all of them.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Lodolo 41st overall in the 2016 draft, but the then-high school senior chose not to sign and went to TCU.
"I knew that if I signed out of high school, I was not going to do four years of education. And education was really important for me and my family. I wanted to get the college experience. I wanted to experience college baseball and what college has to offer and just getting out there and growing up on my own in the college environment and everything. TCU has been absolutely awesome. I don’t regret a single bit," Lodolo told the Enquirer. "I came in here an absolute string bean, I've gained 30 pounds since being here, so getting that strength and everything helped me develop as a pitcher and the strength is going to keep coming obviously."
Lodolo was a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American in 2017 and earned All-Big 12 Conference honors in all three college seasons. He is TCU's first-ever top-10 MLB draft pick — the previous highest selected Horned Frog was Lance Broadway at No. 15 in 2005.