Nationals’ Prospect Profile: Reynaldo Lopez


When you look at the farm system for the Washington Nationals, one of the things that stands out is the amount of pitching prospects that are in the top ten of their system. For example, if you look at the current top ten according to MLB Pipeline, the Nationals have five pitchers in the top ten of their system. However, there is one pitcher who was with top prospect Lucas Giolito in Hagerstown last season that deserves a little more of a look.

21-year-old Reynaldo Lopez is number 20 on the Nationals’ prospect list according to MLB Pipeline, but when you look at other rankings, Lopez is number three according to Baseball America behind Lucas Giolito and Michael Taylor. That shows Lopez is already a player to watch in this system, even though he hasn’t made it to the advanced levels of the organization.

Last season, the righty from the Dominican Republic split his time between the Auburn Doubledays (New York-Penn League) and the Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League). He began the season with Hagerstown, where he struggled in his first two starts. Lopez gave up six runs on 12 hits over 7.2 innings pitched in those two games before going down to Auburn.

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However, in short season single-A, Lopez excelled. In seven starts, he went 3-2 with a 0.75 ERA. While Lopez averaged less than a strikeout per inning (31 K’s in 36 innings), he is a pitcher that doesn’t allow teams to score on him as he gave up just three runs in New York-Penn League play. In fact, during his Penn-League stint, he had a stretch from June 26 to July 22 in which he gave up one earned run.

After July 22, Lopez went back to Hagerstown and continued his success. In seven starts, he went 4-0 with a minuscule 0.23 ERA, which included giving up one earned run in 39.2 innings of work. Now, Lopez did lose in Game 3 of the SAL Championship to the Asheville Tourists 4-1 (5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 3 BB). However, that shouldn’t take away from his fantastic season.

When you look at a pitcher at his young age, it is impressive to see that in those last seven starts, he went no fewer than five innings in any game. One of his best starts came on September 5 against Greensboro in the playoffs, when he gave up two hits over six innings and struck out ten Grasshopper hitters.

Lopez has a fastball that can get up to the mid-late 90’s, a curveball, a changeup, and a slider. If he can continue to get some swings and misses with the fastball, he has the potential to be a constant in the Nats’ system.

Plus, there is a possibility of  a 1-2 combination in high-A Potomac with Giolito and Lopez, which will be tough for those high-A hitters to face. The question will now be whether or not Lopez can continue being dominant at advanced levels. At his age, you probably won’t see him in the Nation’s Capital for 2-3 years, but he is still someone to keep an eye on.

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