Weight: 195 lbs.
Well known to major league clubs, Nick Lodolo was a sandwich pick in the 2016 draft out of the California prep ranks on the back of his athletic and projectable 6’6” frame. He obviously did not sign, opting to honor his commitment to TCU, where he has ascended to Friday starter status in his junior season. The long lefty has hovered around the 4.00 ERA mark in his first two college campaigns, but was able to miss a lot more bats as a sophomore, building momentum that he has carried into his draft year.
On the mound, Lodolo works left-to-right from a lower 3⁄4 arm slot, spotting fastballs to the edges at his best. His fastball has been known to look true at times, but can flash some nice glove side run. He’s shown both a slider and a curve at times and seems to be a great spinner of the baseball, with the slider able to dive in on the hands of righties. His changeup is also known to flash above average, and he’s displayed an ability to drop it in for strikes. All in all, this as an extremely high upside arsenal that has potential to keep improving, as Lodolo is still quite projectable despite his age.
On Friday vs. Houston, Lodolo dominated the Cougars at Minute Maid Park, allowing just one run on a solo homer in seven frames, striking out thirteen against a single free pass. Though it has taken some time for Lodolo to realize his potential as a college pitcher, he had it all working in his most recent start and looked as though he could’ve frustrated any NCAA lineup. It was by far his best start of the year, but with more like it he’s likely to be in the conversation to be one of the first college pitchers off the board.
A lefty with size, power and command of four above average pitches at his best, Lodolo has a bit of Blake Snell to his game when everything is working for him. If he can continue to hone his command and consistently spot his fastball on the edges of the zone, it should be very difficult for hitters at any level to square him up, particularly if he is able to add further velocity as he fills out his 6’6” frame. Lodolo shows #2 starter upside at present, with swing and miss stuff against lefties and righties.
Projected Draft Round
Lodolo has been projected anywhere from the mid-first to the second round, but looks poised to solidify first round status if his improvements this season hold up.
Does he fit with Houston?
The Astros have selected college pitchers in the first twice (Mark Appel in 2013 and J.B. Bukauskas in 2016), and Lodolo could represent a nice value at their draft slot if he’s available, but he’s not among the most likely outcomes for the Astros at present.