Photo Credit: Minor League Baseball
As a part of our ‘Prospect Profile’ series, I had the chance to interview Red Sox prospect Nick Lovullo.
With the Red Sox having an off day on Monday, I decided to take a look at the Red Sox farm system and traveled up to Manchester, New Hampshire to watch the Portland Sea Dogs take on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
While I was there, I had the opportunity to talk to Nick Lovullo, the son of former Red Sox bench coach and current Arizona Diamondbacks manager, Torey Lovullo. Nick is a great kid and was an entertaining interview. Hopefully he can find his way to the big leagues and contribute to the Red Sox.
JN: Growing up in LA were you a Dodgers fan, or an Angels fan?
Nick: I was more so a Dodgers fan than I was an Angels fan.
JN: Were there any specific players you idolize growing up?
Nick: I really liked to watch our manager right now Alex Cora, he played with the Dodgers for a while and was a utility infielder and I was a utility infielder growing up and a hard nose player.
JN: Did you try to model your game after him?
Nick: I guess you could say that.
JN: You were drafted a couple of times, the first time being out of high school by Toronto in 2012 where your dad was the first base coach at the time, what was it like being drafted by your dad’s team?
Nick: It was a really cool experience, I was able to go up there to hang out with him and see what the organization was all about throughout my high school career and then to be drafted by them after seeing all that. It was definitely a special moment for myself and especially for my dad, but we decided that college was the route for me.
JN: Going to Holy Cross while your dad was coaching in Boston, that must’ve been a great experience, right?
Nick: It was cool, it definitely worked out great. I had committed there while he was in Toronto and once he got the Red Sox job it made that decision even sweeter. Growing up he’d always be out of the house doing his thing and so we looked at it as baseball is finally giving something back to us being so close and I was able to go to a lot of games and see him and spend time with him. If I didn’t go back to school that never would’ve happened and that was definitely a cool experience. Most importantly, I got to go to all the World Series games in 2013.
JN: You were drafted twice by the Red Sox in both 2015 and 2016, was there a reason you didn’t sign in 2015?
Nick: Yeah that was another time where I really had to sit down and think about what was the right thing for me and my family. And we decided that staying at Holy Cross and finishing up my degree and going back and becoming a better baseball player was the right thing for me. Fortunately it worked out that I got picked again the next year and I’m really happy it worked out that way, because there certainly was no guarantee.
JN: When you got drafted while your dad was in the organization were there any concerns about maybe favoritism that you had?
Nick: Not really, I know that in my heart I’m here for a reason and it wasn’t just because of my dad. If people want to speculate that there was any favoritism I just use that as more motivation and try to prove people wrong if that’s what they believe. It’s just another case where baseball has given back to us, we had that one season in 2016 where I was in Lowell and he was in Boston.
JN: You’ve been playing a lot of 2B this year but were a SS out of college, where do you feel more comfortable?
Nick: Anywhere. I’m comfortable anywhere, I’ve played a little bit of 3B, 2B, or SS I’m happy anywhere. I’ve worked hard to prepare myself for any situation the organization wants to throw at me weather it’s SS, 2B, or 3B.
JN: Are there any pitchers in the MLB that’d you’d want to face right now?
Nick: Oh man, no. I’m having my hands full with AA pitchers. I’d like to match these guys first before I want to face MLB pitchers.
JN: What’s your favorite memory playing baseball?
Nick: There are two that stick out to me: one was in high school when we won the Southern California State Championship, we don’t have state championships in California only Southern and Northern championships, and the game was at Dodger Stadium and on that team was all my best friends and to this day they’re still my best friends in the entire world. We were kind of the Cinderella team and nobody expected us to make a run and we won all those games and we ended up winning it at Dodger Stadium. The other was last year down in Greenville we won the first half but it came down to the last day and we were a ½ game back on Charleston and we had to win and they had to lose. Our manager wouldn’t let us check the score while the game was going on, he wanted to make sure we won our game before we worried about their game. We ended up winning and they ended up losing and we all celebrated after.
JN: If there’s one thing you want Red Sox fans to know about you what is it?
Nick: Oh man, that’s a tough one. Probably that I’m a grinder, but I know I don’t have the best numbers right now or even in my career, but I pride myself in playing the game hard and helping my team win no matter what they ask of me. I’ve had a slow start here in Portland but I’m trying to play better baseball as the summer goes on and hopefully we keep winning and I can eventually make it up to Fenway and help the Red Sox win.
JN: One final question for you Nick, is a hotdog a sandwich?
Nick: Ummmm, yes I think it is a sandwich.
During his 2018 campaign, Nick is struggling a bit with a .211 batting average in Portland. For many prospects, the Eastern League is considered a “make or break” time period due to the strength of competition.
He did hit .329 in Greenville last year, but his potential is through his defensive versatility. If Lovullo can consistently find a way on base, there is a chance for him to find a way to Boston. For now, he’s probably blocked by Tzu-Wei Lin, among others, for a utility position.
Keep an eye on Nick in the coming years – we’re happy he’s in the Red Sox system.