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Draft Prospects You Should Know: Nick Lodolo

The TCU lefty just may be the first college pitcher chosen in this year’s draft

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs TCU
Suffocating southpaw: Nick Lodolo has been dominant for the Horned Frogs in 2019, with an 11-1 K/BB ratio.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.

Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).

Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).

Nick Lodolo
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Age 21
Bats Left
Throws Left


Baseball America 7
FanGraphs 6

Lodolo, who was the 41st overall pick by the Pirates in 2016 but opted instead to pitch for the Horned Frogs, is beginning to look like a genius. After a decent first two NCAA seasons, he’s missing more bats while posting even better control numbers. These are his numbers through May 8, 2019:

2017 17 G, 15 GS, 4.35 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .257 OBA, 78.2 IP, 76 H, 28 BB, 72 Ks
2018 16 G, 15 GS, 4.32 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .264 OBA, 77 IP, 80 H, 28 BB, 93 Ks
2019 12 G, 12 GS, 2.34 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .212 OBA, 77 IP, 60 H, 16 BB, 89 Ks

The stat line for the lanky (6´6´´, 185 pounds) southpaw has been mighty impressive in 2019. For someone with his stuff, Lodolo had been hit more than expected during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. By reducing his OBA by more than 50 points and also improving his BB/9 to a miniscule 1.87, while maintaining a K/9 ratio at 10.40, he is meriting strong, early first-round, consideration.

Lodolo features a nifty four-pitch repertoire. His lively fastball reaches 92-94 mph per 2080 Baseball, delivered on a steep downhill plane thanks to his height. 2080 Baseball also lists his sharp curveball at 80-83, a plus changeup that runs 86-87 mph and is perhaps his best secondary pitch due to its late action, and an 86-88 slider that he’s only recently begun using, but with outstanding effect. In Baseball America’s preseason list of loudest tools, they listed both Lodolo’s changeup and curveball as the best in this year’s draft class. MLB grades him at 55 in all categories — fastball, curveball, slider, and command. His control was good prior to this year, and it’s been excellent this year. However, his relative lack of command may explain why he’d relinquished so many hits during his first two seasons for the Horned Frogs.

Lodolo likely will be among the first few collegiate pitchers selected in this year’s draft (along with West Virginia’s Alek Manoah, Kentucky’s Zach Thompson, and Elon’s George Kirby). By maintaining his success thus far in 2019, he’s now emerged as a near-certain Top 10 pick. With the difficulties the White Sox have encountered in keeping their stud arms healthy of late, there is indeed an outside chance that they’d consider an elite collegiate lefty with their third pick. If the Sox do select Lodolo, they may offer him an under-slot bonus, which would pave the way to selecting some higher-upside prep picks later in the draft.

Here’s a video of Lodolo pitching against the University of Houston on March 1, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:

Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know

C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Ga.) H.S. SS
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State OF
Cameron Cannon, Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Canterino, Rice RHSP
Matt Cronin, Arkansas LHRP
Tyler Dyson, Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas OF
Jonathan French, Parkview (Ga.) H.S. C
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Zack Hess, Louisiana State RHSP
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Will Holland, Auburn SS
Seth Johnson, Oregon RHSP
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Alek Manoah, West Virginia RHSP
Erik Miller, Stanford LHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Kyren Paris, Freedom (Calif.) H.S. SS
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State C
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Josh Smith, Louisiana State SS
Andrew Vaughn, California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss OF
Kenyon Yovan, Oregon RHSP
Ryan Zeferjahn, Kansas RHSP