Lopez signed with the Astros for $300K out of Venezuela in 2017. After making his stateside debut this year with the GCL Astros, the 18-year-old was promoted to Short-Season Tri-City on July 26th. Between both levels, Lopez has 1.50 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 45:19 over 42 innings. I saw the right-hander on August 8th versus Hudson Valley.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds, Lopez has yet to reach full maturity. While his diminutive height might limit his projectability, he is still young enough to potentially grow an inch or two. Lopez has natural deception given a slight turn away from hitters and a quick, loose arm-stroke. His fastball sat between 92-to-95 mph with good life through the zone. He also threw a two-seamer at 88-to-89 mph that was less effective than the four-seam, showing slight one-plane run as opposed to diving action down in the zone. Lopez showed excellent feel for spin, throwing his slurve in the zone and burying it in the dirt when ahead in the count. The above-average offering sat between 79-to-81 mph with varying life depending on his hand positioning on the pitch. Lopez seemed to slightly drop his release point when throwing his breaking ball, which hitters may pick up on as he moves through the minors. Additionally, despite his age, the right-hander also displayed advanced feel for a changeup, which sat at 84 mph. It flashed average fading action and control around the zone. Finally, Lopez exhibited impressive pitchability, effectively mixing his offerings and locations.
The youngster has a long way to go before reaching the big leagues, but he showed the ingredients necessary to remain in the rotation. Lopez is not yet a household name, but I came away extremely impressed and expect him to gain notoriety as he advances through the minors. While his size is a concern with regards to durability, his easy delivery coupled with control of an impressive three-pitch arsenal give the upside of a FV 45 type contributor