Ht: 6’0” Wt: 185
Acquired: Received from Washington in the Adam Eaton deal, 12/7/2016
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- #4 – 2017 Preseason
- #5 – 2017 Midseason
- VIDEO: versus Ozzie Ablies, 5-11-2017
- VIDEO: Pick-off move, 5-11-2017
- All FutureSox media tagged Reynaldo Lopez
- #3 Prospect in South Atlantic League, Postseason 2014 (Baseball America)
- #49 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2015 (Baseball America)
- #92 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2016 (Baseball America)
- 2016 Futures Game participant
- #10 Prospect in the Eastern League, Postseason 2016 (Baseball America)
- #31 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2017 (Baseball America)
- #46 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2017 (MLB Pipeline)
- #30 Prospect in MLB, Preseason 2017 (Baseball Prospectus)
- #59 Prospect in MLB, Midseason 2017 (Baseball America)
- #59 Prospect in MLB, Midseason 2017 (MLB Pipeline)
Lopez is an example of a true diamond in the rough, as the Nats shrewdly signed him as an 18-year-old for a mere $17,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. Lopez quickly gained velocity, perhaps to the detriment of his arm, as he lost nearly all of his 2013 season thanks to a sore arm that was classified as a “bone weakness.” He came roaring back in 2014, emerging on the prospect scene with a minuscule 1.08 ERA over 16 starts between Low A and A Ball. 2015 saw him decrease his walks and increase his strikeout total while spending the year in A+ Potomac, but he was much more hittable, inflating his ERA to 4.09. Washington promoted Lopez to AA to begin 2016, and he terrorized batters with 100 strikeouts over just 76.1 innings, having multiple starts with double digits K’s. The Nationals saw that he could help them in their pennant push, and he spent the rest of the season between AAA and the majors, accumulating 44 big league innings. Lopez was understandably inconsistent facing MLB hitters, but in his best start he struck out 11 batters over seven innings, only allowing two walks, four hits, and one earned run.
Lopez’s arsenal begins with a plus fastball that has topped out at 100 MPH and is commonly graded as a 70-grade pitch. It is described as “electric” with life and sits typically around 94-97 MPH. He utilizes excellent arm extension and has a relatively low effort delivery. Lopez backs up his fastball with a 78-81 slurvy curveball that is above average and projects plus. He is able to locate it well, throwing it down and in effectively to left-handed batters. His third offering is a below average upper 80’s change-up that he barely uses, but some scouts peg as a 55 potential pitch, due to arm action deceptively similar to his fastball.
There are some who doubt Lopez’s ability to stick as a starter (ESPN’s Keith Law bluntly called his chances 0%), due to concerns about his size, delivery, and command. At 6’0” and 185 pounds he doesn’t have the prototypical front of the rotation starter’s body, as his hulking teammate Lucas Giolito does, for example. However, he is built solidly and has a very strong upper torso, as evidenced by his arm-heavy delivery. His delivery action causes him to come across his body and leaves him unbalanced as he finishes towards the plate, though recently he seems to have improved on this issue. This is likely the cause of some of his struggles with command (2.8 BB/9 in minors and 4.5 in brief MLB debut). Lopez will likely never have plus command, but the hope is his stuff is good enough to mask it. It is easier to get away with missed locations when you are throwing 97 MPH with heavy movement and can force hitters to expand their zone. If the White Sox can bring along his change-up to a point where it compliments his fastball and smooth out his delivery a bit, Lopez has the upside to be a #2-3 starter. If not, Lopez would almost immediately be a force in the White Sox bullpen, letting loose his fastball and using his curve as a devastating 1-2 punch.
Major League Outlook: Mid-rotation starter or late inning reliever
ETA: Mid-season 2017