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The Future of Jose Lopez

I get lots of email about Jose Lopez from Mariners fans, asking the same questions that Mets fans ask about Jose Reyes: when/if Lopez will hit. How good can he really be?

Not much growth in Lopez's numbers between 2004 and 2005. He improved his OPS+ from 68 to 75, adding 19 points of OPS and 12 points of SLG, better than losing points certainly but not exactly strong growth. In 397 career at-bats, he owns a .239/.272/.373 line, anemic certainly. But there are some positives here.

In 397 career at-bats, Lopez had hit 32 doubles. Project that out to 600 at-bats and you get 48 two-baggers, an impressive total. Although his walk rate is well below average, his strikeout rate is not bad; he does make contact. Now 22 years old, he still has a lot of development time on his clock, and if the doubles are any indication, there is still significant potential in his bat, at least as a contact hitter with good gap power.

PECOTA's 5-year forecast has Lopez reaching 19 homers by age 25, but I'm not sure I buy that. The PECOTA player comps for Lopez are all over the place. . .Wil Cordero, Mike de la Hoz, Tommy Davis (!), Ken Reitz, Glenn Hoffman, Juan Uribe, Brooks Robinson, Edgardo Alfonzo, Bill Mazeroski are some of the names. Intuitively the Uribe comparison seems reasonable for what Lopez might develop into if his power continues to develop. Other possible comparisons include old-time guys like Jimmy Bloodworth, Frank Crosetti and Eric McNair. Dick McAuliffe and Shawon Dunston are more modern names.