The Cincinnati Reds faced off against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark in their first true exhibition game of the summer. They’ll get another one in on Wednesday evening before Opening Day on Friday evening. There were only two prospects who pitched in the game for the team on Tuesday – #2 prospect Nick Lodolo and #15 prospect Tejay Antone.
Things went a lot better for Tejay Antone than they did for Nick Lodolo on the night. Lodolo started out just fine, needing just 12 pitches to get through the inning – an inning that did include two singles. But it was the second inning that things fell apart for the young left-handed pitcher.
The first batter of the inning doubled. Cameron Maybe flew out to center to follow, but then Austin Romine doubled in a run. Then the real trouble came up as the Tigers 9, 1, and 2 hitters all went deep, connecting for back-to-back-to-back homers. Cincinnati kept Nick Lodolo in for one more hitter, Miguel Cabrera. After getting ahead 0-2, the future Hall of Famer lined a single into center field on a fastball to end the outing for the Reds 1st round draft pick from 2019.
The Metrics on Nick Lodolo
This should begin by noting that the new system being used in Major League Baseball this year for the Statcast data that will show up in Gameday is being gathered by the Hawk-Eye system. It’s a camera based system, which you can read more about here. In the past the data had been gathered by the Trackman system, which was a radar operated system. The reason I’m stating this is that we don’t know entirely just how 1-to-1 we should be comparing all of the data at this point – though the velocity aspect of it should be accurate.
|Nick Lodolo vs. Detroit Tigers | July 21, 2020 Exhibition|
Unfortunately we don’t get more information right now via Statcast than velocity and pitch type for the pitchers. Exit velocity is still there for when balls are put in play. But for now it seems that spin rate is among the things we don’t get right now. Perhaps that will change in the regular season, but it doesn’t help us out right now.
I wrote about this game being a learning experience for Nick Lodolo when it was announced that he would get the start. Good or bad, there were things to learn facing big leaguers. The results weren’t what the young lefty hoped for, I’m sure. He caught too much of the plate with some pitches and big league hitters don’t miss those often. But he also got a chance to see what does and doesn’t work against the best hitters on the planet, too. That’s information he can take with him to the mound the next time he gets out there.
As noted above, the results weren’t great. Lodolo allowed 8 hits in 1.1 innings without a walk or strikeout, and without a swinging strike among his 35 pitches thrown.
The Metrics on Tejay Antone
Back in spring training it was the improved velocity from Tejay Antone that was one of the bigger stories from a minor leaguer perspective out in Goodyear. The right-handed starter came out throwing 96-98 MPH in short stints from the Reds bullpen in March. He took the mound on Tuesday night and we got to see how things went for more than a 1-inning stint as Antone pitched 2.0 innings against the Tigers in the game.
|Tejay Antone vs. Detroit Tigers | July 21, 2020 Exhibition|
The velocity that was there in the spring was there, for the most part, over two innings. Antone worked between 94.0 and 96.7 MPH with his 14 fastballs, and he pounded the zone with them. One of the things that I wondered about with Antone was how his fastball would move given the higher velocity because when he was working 89-92, the pitch had outstanding movement. If you had a chance to watch the game you probably saw, too, that the pitch still had plenty of movement on it. The slider looked strong, too. He had two swinging strikes on the pitch and three more strikes looking on it.
While Tejay Antone allowed a run in 2.0 innings, he looked pretty good while doing so. He pounded the strikezone, throwing 19 strikes out of the 27 pitches in his outing.