The 19-year-old Lopez was excellent in his stateside debut, pitching to a 2.28 ERA across 43.1 innings in the GCL. His body and pitchability are advanced for his age, allowing plenty of present polish but also limiting future projection.
A stocky 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Lopez is portly through the middle with thick shoulders and hips. He stays closed through a semi-windup delivery, hiding the ball well from same-side hitters and creating deception from a slingy three-quarters slot. Lopez pumps strikes with a low-90s fastball, sitting at 91-to-93 mph and topping out at 94 mph. It’s a quick heater with lively ride through the zone. His best off-speed pitch is a 75-to-77 mph curve with sweepy three-quarters shape, taking a long slant across the zone that’s tough for lefties to stay in on. A usable mid-80s change rounds out the arsenal, and there’s feel to sell the pitch at armspeed and keep it for a strike.
Low-level minor leaguers are baffled by pitchers who throw strikes with different speeds, so Lopez ran through lineups this summer based more on his feel than raw stuff. Lopez’ pitching IQ makes him a prospect, though given his present stuff and limited projection, there’s less ceiling than many pitchers his age. He checks the boxes of a future FV 40 swingman or spot-starter, able to pitch in a handful of different middle-innings roles. He’s developed enough to handle a full-season assignment next year and could start 2019 in the Midwest League.