College gamble pays off as TCU LHP Nick Lodolo taken seventh overall by Cincinnati Reds

TCU left-hander Nick Lodolo is going to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds drafted Lodolo with the seventh overall pick in the MLB Draft on Monday night, three years after he turned down a $1.75 million signing bonus as the 41st overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Awesome!” Lodolo said in a statement released by TCU. “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.”

Lodolo is the highest baseball player taken in TCU history. The previous first-round picks included Lance Broadway in 2005 (15th overall by Chicago White Sox), Andrew Cashner in 2008 (19th overall by Chicago Cubs) and Brandon Finnegan in 2014 (17th overall by the Kansas City Royals).

Matt Purke was the 14th overall pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2009 MLB Draft before going to TCU and being taken in the third-round of the 2011 draft.

This is the first year since 2014 that TCU has produced first-round picks in the MLB and NFL drafts. Lodolo joins defensive end L.J. Collier (Seattle Seahawks) as a first-round pick this year. In 2014, Finnegan joined cornerback Jason Verrett (San Diego Chargers).

Lodolo came to TCU as the highest unsigned pick from the 2016 MLB Draft. As stated, the Pirates selected him with the 41st overall pick in the supplemental first round out of Damien High School in La Verne, California, but he opted for college.

The 6-foot-6, 202 pound Lodolo is coming off his best season at TCU in 2019. He had a 2.36 ERA in 16 starts, posting career bests in strikeouts (131), innings pitched (103) and opponents’ batting average (.203). He had double-digit strikeouts in six of his 16 starts this season.

“We are so excited for Nick and his family for this tremendous opportunity with a great organization like the Cincinnati Reds,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said in a statement. “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.”

For his career, Lodolo pitched in 49 games, including 46 starts, with a 3.55 ERA for the Frogs. He struck out 296 batters in 258 2/3 innings pitched.

The scouting report on Lodolo is a fastball that sits in the 90-94 mph, peaking at 96 mph, and has sinking action on it. He also throws a breaking pitch and a changeup.

On MLB Network, Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer compared Lodolo to All-Stars such as Cole Hamels and Blake Snell.

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