Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Draft: #41 Overall Pick
Tonight is the MLB draft the Pittsburgh Pirates are picking at #22 and #41 in the first round, and they are picking at #68 overall with their second round pick.
With the #41 overall pick, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Neal Huntington selected left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo from Damien High School California. He has a commitment to Texas Christian University.
He is a big pitcher at 6’6” and 180 pounds. His fastball sits about 92-93, but he has trouble keeping velocity deep in games and will sit more 88-90 miles per hour. This is because he has trouble keeping consistent arm speed late into games. However, he does a good job of keeping the ball down in the strike zone and produces a lot of ground balls.
Lodolo is a very raw pitcher who is kind of a high risk, high reward pick. If he does not develop into his 6’6” frame and learn how to use his fastball consistently he will be a bust. If he does however develop, he could be a big time left-handed pitcher with front of the rotation potential. He has a big, slow curve ball, but he will learn to throw it harder as he develops in the minors.
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The biggest thing with Lodolo is he will need time to develop. He is very raw as one can tell from the information provided. The nice thing is the Pirates have plenty of pitching in the upper minors and will be able to take their time with bringing Lodolo up the system. The biggest thing is the Pirates have Steven Brault, Stephen Tarpley, and Brandon Waddell as their top three left-handed pitching prospects. After those three there is not much to speak of for left-handed prospects. The Pirates are bringing a raw, but high upside left-handed pitcher into a system that could use more lefties. It is hard to give him a player comparison with how young, raw, and big he is, but MLB Network annalists were comparing him to Red Soxs’ pitcher Henry Owens.
Related Story: First Round Pick
The other interesting note is Baseball America had Lodolo rated at the 85th best prospect in the draft. This is mainly due to his inconsistency with velocity and just his overall rawness. The Pirates could be looking at getting a projectable left-handed pitcher and saving money. They may have had their eyes on another player who may have been taken right before their pick like Dakota Hudson or Joey Wentz. Or it could be the other side, Neal Huntington may have his eyes on a player who will be available in the second round and they will need some extra money to sign him. Regardless the Pirates got a high upside left-handed pitcher who they will be able to develop over the next six years or so.
The last time the Pirates took a left-handed pitcher high was in 2013 when they took another California high school pitcher Blake Taylor in the second round. Taylor has since been traded to the Mets for Ike Davis in the 2014 season.