Lopez is coming off his first full Major League season, as he posted a 3.41 ERA, 2.47 K/BB rate, and 6.2 K/9 over 60 2/3 innings out of Arizona’s bullpen. While the bottom-line results were solid, there were some notable red flags in Lopez’s performance, namely some of the highest exit velocity and hard-hit ball rates of any pitcher in the sport. With a .370 xwOBA that soared above his .298 wOBA, Lopez seemingly benefited greatly from a .233 BABIP that saw much of opposing batters’ solid contact go for naught. In terms of ERA predictors, Lopez had a 5.03 FIP, 4.47 xFIP, and 4.60 SIERA that all greatly exceeded his 3.41 ERA.
There’s clearly a lot to improve on if Lopez is to continue as a reliable member of the Snakes’ bullpen, though he did display some durability in appearing in 70 games, and he was effective against both left-handed (.723 OPS) and right-handed (.728 OPS) batters. He also averages a blistering 96.3 mph on his fastball.
Lopez might be best known for receiving the highest bonus ever given to an international amateur player at the time of his signing back in January 2015. That $8.27MM bonus single-handedly put the D’Backs over the old international spending limit, thus forcing the club to pay a 100 percent tax on the overage and placing the D’Backs into two years of limitations in the international market. Arizona was limited to signings of $300K or less in two consecutive July 2 signing periods (2015-16 and 2016-17), which was seen as one of the critical errors of the Dave Stewart/Tony La Russa front office.
Some struggles both on and off the field in the minor leagues led to some speculation as to whether Lopez would even reach the Show, though the hard-throwing righty did finally get on track and now has 69 2/3 MLB innings under his belt. He remains under team control through the 2024 season, so Lopez’s move to Wasserman seemingly wasn’t made with a forthcoming trip to the open market in mind.