After the 2022 season, it’s protected to say that Reynaldo López has discovered his function with the Chicago White Sox.
A former high beginning pitching prospect within the Washington Nationals group and a bit of the notorious Adam Eaton commerce, López has found a house within the South Facet bullpen. He initially turned in tumultuous outcomes as a starter since his debut with the Sox in 2017. Whereas at all times displaying a plus fastball and sharp breaking pitches, he struggled with command and pitch combine.
Although his time as a starter revealed a rollercoaster of highs (together with a dominating 14-strikeout efficiency towards Detroit) and lows (together with a 5.38 ERA throughout 33 begins in 2019), he posted a robust 2.76 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 1.93 FIP, 8.7 Ok/9 throughout 65.1 IP as a reliever in 2022. The query now’s easy – can he maintain this way in 2023 and past?
First, let’s check out his 2022 MLB Percentile Rankings, through Baseball Savant:
A fast look and Lopez’s metrics are fairly spectacular throughout the board. Whereas he started the transition to changing into a reliever in 2021, he nonetheless began 9 video games that 12 months and posted a mean fastball velocity of 95.8 mph with a FIP of 4.19. It was evident coming into 2022 that the plan was for him to be a full-time bullpen arm. Although he notched a stable 3.43 ERA as a part-time reliever in 2021, he jumped off the web page in 2022 with a 2.76 ERA, 1.93 FIP, and 97.1 mph common fastball velocity, all profession bests.
Now, just a few issues of observe right here:
This previous 12 months, it appeared that López really harnessed his stuff and put every thing collectively to carry out at a really excessive degree. Clearly, we don’t have full insider data of the work pitching coach Ethan Katz has finished with López with regards to pitch shaping, mechanics, pitch combine, and many others. Nonetheless, right here’s a video comparability of his mechanics from 2019 to 2021, courtesy of Sox Machine.
On the left (2021), he has a better and extra explosive leg kick, which seems to present his decrease half the power to increase the entrance leg extra whereas additionally producing extra torque. He additionally has a shorter arm swing and doesn’t drop his throwing arm so early into his supply as he had beforehand finished. The repeatability and stability of his mechanics, together with the choice to maneuver him to the bullpen to get essentially the most out of his skill, has clearly led to a resurgence in his profession.
One can solely assume that Ethan Katz and the White Sox pitching division labored extensively with López to tweak his supply and guarantee he makes a constructive impression on the big-league degree.
Is Reynaldo López‘s 2022 success as repeatable as his supply?
Well being-permitting, there seems to be a robust chance that he’ll be capable to submit equally robust numbers in 2023. He’s turned a nook as knowledgeable pitcher, understands his strengths and weaknesses, and the group doesn’t overextend his tasks. Whereas an ERA beneath 2.80, WHIP beneath 1.00, and FIP beneath 2.00 – like he had in 2022 – are extraordinarily tough asks of any reliever, it’s honest to count on López to be round a 3.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with a Ok/9 within the 8-9 vary. He can be requested to proceed being that assured, reliable middle-to-backend reliever so long as Liam Hendriks and Kendall Graveman are round to deal with the setup and nearer duties.
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