What is wrong with Milwaukee Brewers prospect Jorge Lopez? Because if watch him pitch or go on Twitter, you would think that everything is falling apart with the 23-year-old prospect.
You can run down the reasons of things that can explain his 6.25 ERA and 1.98 WHIP. You can also find a list of reasons why he has 31 walks so far. You could still find reasons for there to be nothing wrong at all.
Is there undeniably incriminating evidence as to what’s wrong with Jorge Lopez? If so, should the Milwaukee Brewers worry about one of their top prospects?
Most people point to Lopez’s 1.98 WHIP (which is the worst in the PCL) as proof of his command and control issues. But even so, those things are hard to quantify. A good way to quantify control is to take a deeper analysis of the pitch locations. Unfortunately, FanGraphs only provides heat maps for Lopez during the time when he pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers last season (at the Major League Level).
It’s not uncommon that MiLB data isn’t as regularly accessible as MLB data. However, some stats are indicative of strike zone command (K%, BB%, HR%, H%).
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In 2015, at the Double-A Level Lopez posted a 24K%, 9.1BB%, 1HR%, and an 18H% across twenty-four games at the level. So far this season, Lopez has posted a 16.2K%, a 15.7BB%, an HR% of 0.05, and finally a 25H%.
Looking at just those numbers, it looks like Lopez is having some issues with command. He’s striking out fewer batters, giving up more walks as well as hits. However, his home run rate is almost non-existent. He’s faced 198 batters and only given up one home run, in a hitter-friendly place like Colorado Springs, that speaks volumes.
Which brings us to our next possible culprit as to what’s wrong with Jorge Lopez-velocity.
Here is a scouting report I found on Lopez from 2014
Then the baseball cube has his four-seam fastball with a velocity of 93.36, which is above his 2014 velocity based on the tweet above. MLB Pipeline meanwhile has his speed range 92-95, so it’s entirely possible that he’s consistently throwing above 93.36.
So, velocity clearly isn’t an issue for Lopez.
It’s possible that pitching in the high elevation of Colorado Springs is simply why his numbers are inflated. It seems that there’s no concrete determinate factor as to why Jorge Lopez is struggling. It appears to be the case that he’s still adjusting to Triple-A Ball as well as playing in the high elevation of Colorado Springs.