The Washington Nationals will promote right-handed pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez to the major league roster in time for him to make his major league debut Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 22-year-old has thrived in the high minors this year, posting a combined 3.19 ERA in 87 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 109/31 K/BB. The strikeouts are no fluke.
Here's the pre-season view fro the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Washington Nationals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 185 DOB: January 4, 1994
2015: Grade B-
Reynaldo Lopez broke through with an excellent 2014 season. His ’15 wasn’t as nice on the surface but was actually a very good consolidation campaign. He pitched better than the 4.09 ERA implies: his FIP was much healthier at 2.95 so don’t be alarmed by the surface stat. Scouting reports continue to praise his 94-99 MPH fastball as well as his plus curve. His change-up is very good at times, not so good at others, but it is gradually becoming more consistent. Right now his control is ahead of his command. He doesn’t walk the ballpark but he could use tighter location. Some still think he’ll wind up in relief but he’s made enough progress with his secondary pitches to remain in the rotation for now. Personally, I’m optimistic that the third pitch will get steadier. Depending on how aggressive the Nationals want to be, it is possible that Lopez could make a Luis Severino-like rapid advancement. Strong Grade B.
Our own Minor League Ball contributor Wayne Cavadi took a detailed look at Lopez back in late June just before his promotion to Triple-A. Wayne notes reports of Lopez working consistently at 96 MPH and higher this year in a rash of high-strikeout starts, mixing in with the already-present power curve and an improving change-up.
Although Lopez still needs some command refinements, industry confidence that he can be a starter is growing. At this point he is certainly at least a Grade B+ prospect and probably an A-.