Milwaukee Brewers farmhand Jorge Lopez found himself in a bullpen role for the Biloxi Shuckers by the end of 2017. However, to start 2018 he will be moving back to the rotation.
The 25 year old righty has appeared in 12 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in his career, including two starts. In 13 starts for Biloxi, Lopez accumulated a 3-6 record with a 4.61 ERA. Following that he moved to a relief role, where he thrived to a 5-2 with a 3.62 ERA in 26 appearances.
As stated by Tom Haudricourt, Lopez did start throughout the Dominican Winter League. He threw 13 games with an ERA of 2.49. It is also worth noting that he led the league in both strikeouts and innings pitched.
Lopez is a former second round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers. He just turned 25 and started his career back in 2011. If he can carry over his momentum from the winter, he can have a good bounce back year as a starter in 2018.
In both of Lopez’ stints for the Milwaukee Brewers, the only other team he played for is Biloxi. But, in 2015 when he made his debut, it was well deserved. He saw time in the MLB after going 12-5 with a 2.26 ERA for the Shuckers.
With the news of Lopez moving back to a starting role it means he will be stretched out during Spring Training. As a member of the 40-man roster for the last few years, he is not new to the Brewers camp.
During his first Spring Training in 2015, Lopez started 2 games that spanned 10 innings. His ERA was not great. After not returning in 2016, he came back for one appearance in the 2017 Spring Training last year. He threw two innings, giving up four hits and a run.
The most glaring issue to this point is that Lopez walks a hefty amount of batters. His control in the Dominican Winter League was better, walking 17 in nearly 70 innings. Both stints with the Milwaukee Brewers ended with a 4.5 BB/9. Except for is walk rate over six in Triple A, that is the highest of his career. But overall he stays in the mid to upper threes.
Regardless, Lopez earned his way back into a rotation role in the minors this season. His performance in the Dominican Winter League is a good step for the young righty. He is about to hit the best years of his career, so if he is going to make is mark with the Milwaukee Brewers, the time is now. But that is up to him.