Chicago White Sox Scouting Report on RHP Reynaldo Lopez

Sep 29, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (49) throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (49) throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Scouting Report


Size – Lopez is listed at 6’0″ and 185 pounds. Frankly, the height might even be generous at 6 feet, but Lopez does have surprising long limbs for his short height.

He’s not exactly “skinny,” with some solid build to him, but Lopez does hold his added weight primarily in his upper legs.

Delivery – Lopez works from the first base side of the rubber with his feet pointed toward home plate in his wind up.

He takes a short step toward first base and sets his right foot in the dirt in front of the rubber to anchor himself toward the plate. He brings his knee up to his chest level before taking a long stride out toward the plate.

Lopez finishes with a high 3/4 delivery, finishing with good extension toward the plate.

When Lopez struggles with his control, it is typically that his long stride toward the plate becomes inconsistent, which leaves him rushing his arm through his delivery to catch up, leaving him inconsistent in his release point.

One notable thing in 2016 is that he really cleaned up his release point, so you typically would see more issues with just his feet and then the ball sailing out of the zone or hopping the plate but keeping a consistent release point, and this seemed to be a focus of Lopez over the season. It led to a lot better control within the zone.

Control (50) – Every year of his career, Lopez has made significant strides with his walk rate, and that is no fluke.

He’s worked on his delivery as he went from a young righty that could hit upper 80s to a guy who could reach triple digits with incredible arm velocity and strength.

With his small frame, keeping his mechanics consistent will be a thing that is a requirement for him to be successful as a major league starting pitcher.

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Fastball (70) – Lopez generates elite velocity with his fastball, but it’s not just his velocity that makes the pitch play so well.

He sat 94-97 with his fastball in the games I watched of him throughout the year, and it seemed like every game had at least one triple digit reading and multiple 99s.

Lopez doesn’t have a lot of sink or rise on his fastball, but he does have excellent late wiggle on the pitch where he gets arm side run, which leads to the ball ending up just off the barrel of a swing rather than right in the heart of it.

In the majors, he struggled with over-throwing the pitch, and it straightens out completely when he does that. If you watch the video of the Braves start he had, that was the one start in the majors I saw where he was getting the same fastball movement that I saw throughout this season in the minors.

Change Up (50) – The major issue that most hard throwers have is finding consistency in their off-speed pitch. Lopez is no different.

He has a change that can flash plus with solid late sink and arm-side run, but he also flashed cut action on the pitch in the minors that allowed the pitch to play up.

Whether it was on orders from the Nationals or something he intentionally did, I did not see the cut-action change thrown much, if at all, during his big league time in 2016. Using that pitch more with the White Sox could lead to a big explosion in Lopez’s results.

Curve Ball (60) – Lopez utilizes what is typically referred to in the modern game as a “spike curve,” a curve ball with velocity of a slider, the drop of a curve on the back end, and not much front end loop on the pitch.

Lopez gets tremendous drop on his pitch, and he ends up with excellent weak contact on the pitch, if anyone actually hits it. While his fastball generates plenty of weak pop ups and his change generates grounders, the curve does a good job of generating either, depending on where it’s located.

I really was impressed with Lopez’s ability to locate the pitch, even when he was off in his delivery. It seemed that the pitches that suffered when his delivery suffered were his fastball and change, not his curve, which is rare for a pitcher.

MLB Player Comp

Tragically, the recent pitcher that has the best comparable profile to Lopez is actually Yordano Ventura, who passed away this offseason.

Both are righties with big fastballs and power curve balls whose change was something that needed development.

Ventura had a mean streak on the mound that Lopez hasn’t displayed in the minor leagues, but the upside and risk is similar with Lopez as what you saw from Ventura with the Royals.

Ventura finished his major league career with a 3.89 ERA and 6.5 career fWAR in 94 career appearances (93 of them starts).

The major statistical piece of Ventura’s career that I see being a part of Lopez’s profile is the ability to hold back home runs. His career rate was just under 0.9 HR/9, and with the movement of his fastball and power curve, Lopez has been able to do the same in the minor leagues, allowing just 25 home runs in 351 2/3 innings between the majors and minors thus far.

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Lopez will certainly challenge for the White Sox rotation this spring, though right now, he and fellow former teammate Lucas Giolito will be behind Jose Quintana, Miguel Gonzalez, Derek Holland, James Shields and Carlos Rodon in the White Sox rotation.

Of course, the Chicago White Sox are fully in a rebuild mode, so they could push out anyone other than Rodon to move forward the rebuild if the right deal is there, which would open a rotation spot for Lopez and Giolito to compete for, and many felt Lopez moved past Giolito last season, and with fellow newcomer Michael Kopech also in the mix, the White Sox could add three hard-throwing righties to their rotation by the end of the season.