In his abbreviated outings this Spring Training, Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez has been throwing harder and with more consistency.
The first thing you see when you look at Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez as he takes the mound is he looks more muscular. It may be one of the reasons the second-year pitcher has been throwing harder and showing continued consistency on the mound.
It could also be the reason Lopez wins a spot in the team’s roation this year and has an immediate impact on the Marlins 2019 season. There is plenty of competition in camp to remain on the 25-man roster. Lopez is in the thick of what has become a fun group of young arms to watch.
Pablo Lopez was perfect on Saturday. While it was short stay on the mound, but his domination of the Washington Nationals is what helped propel the team to a 2-1 win at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
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After running through the Marlins minor league system last year, and joining the team at midseason, Lopez showed he could be a solid, if not dominant starter on the Major League level. Despite being shut down at the end of the year because of injury, 2019 could be the year we all talk about Pablo Lopez as the next great Marlins pitcher.
"As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote, “The right-hander had his fastball clocked as high as 96 mph, and his curveball and changeup were the best they’ve been this spring. Lopez struck out four, and he threw 50 pitches, with 34 strikes. He retired all 12 batters he faced.”"
Impressive indeed, even for a Spring Training outing.
Lopez is locked into a battle with Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Richards and Caleb Smith to make the Opening Day rotation. There is also a wild card in this race – Wei-Yin Chen – whom the Marlins must decide if he is a solid enough candidate to remain in the starting five.
While the media has taken notice of how good Lopez has been so far in camp, the improvements has made isn’t lost on the team’s coaches and manager Don Mattingly, who has been impressed with how his pitcher has come to camp and put in work.
"“Obviously, Pablo was really good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He was aggressive coming out of the box. Good breaking balls. His changeup was good. There was nothing really bad about it.”"
This isn’t the first time the Marlins have seen how good he can be early in the baseball year. And as someone who saw him tear up the Southern League in April with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, I can tell you he has gotten better in just one year’s time.
With the Marlins last season, Pablo Lopez had 10 starts and went 2-4 with a 4.14 ERA.