T.I. wasn’t talking about La Verne (Calif.) Damien pitcher Nick Lodolo when he sang “Ay, let me see you get loose. Get loose, get loose.” But it is a very apt description of the lean and lanky 6-foot-6 Lodolo.
Damien’s senior ace is as projectable an arm as they come. He’s all knees and elbows bouncing around and flying forward at the batter like a marionette doll, but behind those pointy appendage joints is a super loose left arm that could have gold hidden inside of it.
Lodolo’s fastball had good down-and-away armside fade, sitting at 88-89 mph in a start we saw him make at the beginning of the season. He has been up to 91-92 mph in the past and that’s where recent reports have had him. Lodolo also offers a low 80s changeup and a low 70s slurve.
Sometimes the breaking ball will have solid depth on multiple planes, but it can also be flat. At the next level, a pitching coach might try to tighten the breaking ball into a slider or try to develop the curveball with a different grip. Do both and a consistent Lodolo would have a scary good four-pitch mix. He already induces a lot of weak contact, including breaking a metal bat in the game we saw, as a hitter was only able to make contact with the end cap, sending it flying in several pieces.
“Haven’t destroyed a metal bat like that,” Lodolo said. “That was different. That was something.”
Scouts are intrigued because Lodolo could easily add 20-30, maybe even 40 pounds to his 180-pound frame and only have it bolster his mechanics.
Like many long high school pitchers with a slight build, Lodolo sometimes struggles with repeating his delivery, making his consistency a question mark at times. However, that should get better as he strengthens his core muscles when he puts on some weight.
Fittingly, Lodolo has signed to play at TCU, a school that loves its tall, long and lean pitchers. Lodolo fits right into what the Horned Frogs have prototypically liked on the mound.
“Yea. Definitely, especially Kirk Saarloos, who recruited me,” Lodolo said. “You look at all their stats for pitching and they’re in the top every single year in everything they do and they continue to do, so I can learn from the best.
“It’s a great program. Love the coaches. Obviously, their history and everything they’ve got going on right now. They’re winning and in it every single year. I liked it. I really liked the school. It was just a perfect fit for me.”
Of course, Lodolo won’t make it to the Lonestar State for college ball if MLB teams have their way. Lodolo is a solid pitcher already and has huge upside.
“I’m not worried about that right now,” Lodolo said. “I’m just coming out here and trying to help my team win. Just compete.”
One of his goals this season was to come out and improve every outing. If his last start — a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts on Friday — is any indication, he’s on his was to accomplishing that.
Check out Nick Lodolo in action in this video provided by the guys over at Prospect Pipeline: