Continuing our look at the Miami Marlins return on pitcher David Phelps. Right-hander Pablo Lopez is a Tommy John surgery survivor.
David Phelps served his purpose as a member of the Miami Marlins. Fans loved the intensity he pitched with, and his commitment to contributing to a winning team. Even on his way out, he managed to help the organization’s future by netting a stable of promising prospects.
Pablo Lopez is a right-handed pitcher that the Miami Marlins hope will continue to improve. What he lacks in velocity, he makes up for it control and an ability to mix pitches. He worked primarily as a starter while a member of the Seattle Mariners organization.
The Miami Marlins will give him the same opportunity. At only 21 years old, he is already nearing MLB readiness.
More from Marlin Maniac
- Miami Marlins news: Another target gone
- Why didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?
- Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offer
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
Lopez will need at least another full season in the minor leagues, but he could be ready to make an MLB push before too long. Because he doesn’t rely on velocity, but rather pitch placement and changing speeds, he’s easier to project compared to flamethrowers.
Lopez entered the season as the 29th prospect in the Seattle Mariners system. He is 19th in the Miami Marlins organization. While none of his pitches are considered devastating to professional hitting, he mixes them well and works down in the zone.
His fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range with good sink. Still recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2014, coupled with the fact that he is still filling out his 6-foot-3 frame suggests that his velocity should increase. Sinking action on his fastball induces a lot of weak ground balls and strikeouts.
He also features a change up and curveball that he is able to throw for a strike at will.
Projecting Pablo Lopez
Lopez could develop into a back of the rotation starter. Because of his above-average command, his below average velocity doesn’t play much of a factor.
His numbers don’t look great this season, playing in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League. In 18 starts, he is 5-8 with a 5.67 ERA. Most of the damage has been done on opponent base hits, with Lopez’s HR/9 at only 0.5, and his BB/9 at 1.2.
Last season, Lopez pitched to an impressive 2.35 ERA in 84.1 innings. There is optimism that is more of an indication of his potential than what his current stats imply.
Lopez is still developing as a pitcher. If he is able to get his velocity into the low 90’s with regularity, he’ll see his stock rise. A sinker ball pitcher, he doesn’t surrender a lot of home runs, and induces a lot of ground balls. Ultimately, control of the strike zone is his calling card.
MLB.com estimates his arrival with the Miami Marlins could be as early as 2019.