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Thursday, May 10, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: REYNALDO LOPEZ SP CHICAGO WHITE SOX

When it comes to the rebuilding Chicago White Sox, much of the fantasy baseball attention being placed on the team has mostly centered on the team's burgeoning young hitters.  A grouping that includes Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, and Yolmer Sanchez; there is certainly an abundance of talent to keep the attention of the fantasy baseball community.  Some focus should be placed on the White Sox' rotation as well however and in particular, starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez who now looks to be the bigger return for the team when they traded outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals prior to the 2017 season.  Coming off a terrific outing on Wednesday when he went 7.1 innings and gave up just two runs on 3 hits and 2 walks with 6 K's, Lopez now sits with a cumulative 2.44 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 44.1 innings at just the age of 24.

If one were to dig deeper into Lopez' numbers, some interesting things come to the forefront.  The first is that Lopez' fastball has some very good pop to it as shown by his potent 95.6 mph on average fastball. Unfortunately, Lopez has not generated much in the way of strikeouts with the heater as his 6.29 K/9 is well below-average and quite disappointing considering the velocity.  Visions of Nathan Eovaldi quickly come to mind under such a combination and that is not a comparison that any pitcher wants to have attached to their names.  Lopez could certainly use the strikeouts to help him out as his control has been pretty ugly as shown by his nasty 3.86 BB/9 and he also has been homer-prone as well which we can see through his 1.22 HR/9.  Walks and home runs combined together are very bad things for any pitcher and especially so for one who struggles to generate strikeouts.

In addition to the struggles with walks and home runs, Lopez has also benefited from generous luck on the batted ball as his BABIP of .202 is incredibly fortunate and not sustainable.  When Lopez' ERA is adjusted for the luck, his FIP (4.95) and XFIP (5.52) ERA's are ghastly.  Adding this to the issues we already noted really drive home the point that Lopez has been a bit of a pitching fraud so far given his 2.44 ERA.  As a result, anyone who currently does own stock in Lopez should be trying to see what they can get for him.  While there is not likely to be a big market for him at the moment given the fact he is still a bit off the radar, packaging him with another player for someone of need would be a good strategy to use.  You have been warned.


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