TCU’s Nick Lodolo is the sixth left-handed pitcher the Cincinnati Reds have taken in the MLB’s June draft, which began in 1965.
The first was by far the best:
Don Gullett was the 14th overall pick in 1969 out of McKell High School in South Shore, Ky.
He made his major-leave debut the following April and went 5-2 with a 2.43 ERA as a rookie.
Gullett won 91 games in seven seasons with the Big Red Machine Reds and went 109-50 overall with a 3.11 ERA.
Gullett won three World Series — in 1975 and ’76 with the Reds and ’77 with the Yankees — and was the Reds pitching coach for from 1993-2005.
A three-time winner of the Johnny Vander Meer Award as the Reds’ pitcher of the year, he was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2002.
What about the others?
Scott Jones of Hinsdale, Ill., was the No. 22 overall pick in 1982 and never made it above Class A.
C.J. Nitkowski was the ninth pick overall out of St. John’s in 1994. He made his MLB debut one year and one day later and had a 1-3 record in nine MLB appearances when the Reds sent him to the Tigers for David Wells in a trade deadline deal meant to fortify Cincinnati for the postseason.
(ASIDE: How did that go? While the Reds won the division and an NLDS series against the Dodgers, they were swept in the NLCS by the Braves, who went on to beat the Indians in the ‘95 World Series. Wells was 6-5 with a 3.59 ERA for the Reds, went 1-1 in the postseason and was traded to the Orioles in the offseason.)
Nitkowski retired after the 2005 season with a career record of 18-32 and a 5.37 ERA.
He was the only college lefty the Reds had taken in the first round prior to Lodolo.
Jeremy Sowers was the 20th pick in the 2001 draft out of Ballard High School in Louisville. He chose to attend Vanderbilt rather than sign with the Reds then went No. 6 overall to the Indians three years later. He went 18-30 with a 5.18 ERA in four seasons for Cleveland.
Ty Howington was the 14th overall pick in 1999 and never made it past Double-A while struggling with arm issues.
Howington, a Vancouver, Wash., native does have at least one claim to fame, though: He started and won the first game in Dayton Dragons history.