Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 221
Acquired: Drafted 21st Round in 2012 from VMI
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
Lopez was taken in the 21st round as a reclamation project, having pitched just 15 innings his senior year at VMI and only three games the year before due to Tommy John surgery and recovery. This tall righty dominated at Bristol (and two late season games in Class A) in his draft year (14.1 IP, 14 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 20 K all in relief). But Lopez started getting attention with a very strong performance in Kannapolis (A) in 2013, starting in relief but moving to the rotation and doing even better. In 99.1 innings he allowed just 84 hits, walked a reasonable 35 and struck out 129. He was on the radar enough that MLB.com ranked him as high as #11 among all White Sox prospects at one point in 2013, and his name started appearing at the back end of lists on other outlets including ours (he just missed our T25). Unfortunately he injured himself working out in November and required surgery (leg this time) and he didn’t return until August for a brief AZL rehab stint and four games in Winston-Salem (A+). Going into his age 25 season with just 7 IP above A ball, this athletic righty has a tough road to get back to serious prospect status – but his stuff has looked very intriguing at times. He has good command of a fastball that runs 91-94 and has touched 95, with some late tail. But the difference maker is a slider in the 83-85 range that has lots of movement, and he also has a very good change-up with late movement and deception. Lopez should be in A+ in 2015, hopefully reaching AA at some point to get him to a more age-appropriate level where we can get a better read on his stuff against more advanced hitters.
External Media: In-depth profile w/ videos from Nathaniel Stoltz of Fangraphs
Major League Outlook: Back end starter or reliever