During the Major League Baseball All-Star break we will examine the progress made by some of the top prospects across the Chicago baseball landscape, this afternoon we will take a look at one of the returns the White Sox received from the Washington Nationals for Adam Eaton back in December, Reynaldo Lopez.
Season Stats (Triple-A Charlotte)
- ERA: 3.97
- FIP: 4.41
- WHIP: 1.323
- H/9: 8.32
- K%: 22.0
- BB%: 9.1
- K-BB%: 12.8
The Good Ones
- June 29 vs. Columbus Clippers (CLE): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 11 K, 1 BB
- July 4 vs. Durham Bulls (TBR): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 BB
- May 31 vs. Syracuse Chiefs (WSN): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 BB
The Bad Ones
- May 26 vs. Buffalo Bisons (TOR): 4.0 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 4 K, 3 BB
- June 24 vs. Durham Bulls (TBR): 3.0 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 4 K, 4 BB
- July 4 vs. Durham Bulls (TBR): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 10 K, 4 BB
It’s hard to pin down just how well Reynaldo Lopez is pitching this season.
On one hand, he’s surrendered one earned run or fewer eight times and has 10 quality starts in 17 outings. Conversely, his 9.1 BB% is quite bad on the surface and he’s allowing home runs (1.16/9) at rate too high for sustained success.
That said, a deeper dive into the numbers tells us the positives outweigh the negatives. He’s only allowed three earned runs or more in consecutive outings once, for example, and while he has a robust BB%, he’s limited opponents to two walks or fewer in 11 outings and has only issued three free passes over his last three outings. And striking out 22 percent of batters faced is a statistic which cannot be overlooked. Flatly, Lopez’s ability to use his 70-grade fastball at the top of the strike zone when ahead in the count is a tool he will leverage for years to come.
So what the metrics tell us is Lopez is quite good most of the time but has intermittent outings which inflate his stat line. I imagine continuing to work on consistency in the zone will be the focal point for Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty during the second half of the season. Along that line, McCatty and Lopez did some work following a disastrous start to the month of June in which the right-hander allowed seven walks and 12 runs over three starts (15.1 IP). Since, then, Lopez has been nearly untouchable, logging three straight quality starts and throwing 67 percent of his pitches (288) for strikes (193).
What isn’t discernible in the stat lines is Lopez’s confidence. As McCatty noted following that string of sub-par June outings, Lopez’s time in the majors last season, including one appearance in the NLDS last season, has helped him weather the many challenges he’s faced this season. And the mental toughness bodes particularly well for White Sox fans as Lopez’s stuff (plus fastball, plus curve, rapidly developing changeup) is built for prolonged success. If he handles the mental side of the game, there is little limit to what he can accomplish.
All told, Lopez is progressing well.
Expected Addition to 25-Man Roster
With only five Triple-A starts under his belt going into this season, I expect Lopez to spend some more time in the minor leagues, likely into August. This means he won’t be one of the first guys called up once White Sox general manager Rick Hahn starts making moves. That said, he should be on the South Side before rosters expand in September.
Unless otherwise noted, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs
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