Yesterday the Cincinnati Reds designated right-handed pitcher Jose Lopez for assignment. They move was made to make room on the 40-man roster for left-handed reliever Zach Duke, who the team signed to a 1-year contract for $2M for the 2019 season.

It didn’t take very long for someone to snatch the former 6th round draft pick. Jose Lopez was picked in the 6th round of the 2015 draft out of Seton Hall. He was recovering from Tommy John surgery that year and wouldn’t make his debut until midway through the 2016 season when he joined the Billings Mustangs. Since then he’s worked his way up through the minor leagues.

In 2018 he spent his entire season in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. Overall he was solid, but unspectacular. In 141.0 innings he posted a 4.47 ERA with 41 walks and 117 strikeouts. His strikeout rate dropped significantly from where it had been in the past. Overall his season was a tale of two stretched. In his first seven starts with the Bats he posted a 5.80 ERA in 35.2 innings. In his next 17 starts he posted a 3.72 ERA in 94.1 innings. The final two starts of the season were a bit of a struggle for the right-hander, allowing 8 runs in 11.0 innings.

While bringing in a pitcher, it could make sense to designate a pitcher for assignment. But looking at the current 40-man roster, it seemed more likely that someone would take Jose Lopez than a few other players on the roster. We won’t know if that’s true or not unless they make another move. But we do know that someone was willing to take Lopez and it didn’t take very far down the waiver wire for it to happen. The Giants were the second team to get a chance to pick him up. And that’s exactly what they did.

6 Responses

  1. Matt Hendley

    There was/is a backlog though. He was probebly not getting playing time with us.

  2. Eric

    Much appreciated, Mr. Gray —

    It would appear that his 2018 xFIP of 4.29 would fall somewhere between Below Average and Poor, according to Fangraphs.

    Mr. Mancuso, what say you?

    • Doug Gray

      the 2018 league xFIP was 4.15. The difference is essentially non-existent.

  3. Old-school

    This means Robert Stephenson is going to the bullpen and is still an option on the 25 man roster come Opening Day.

  4. CI3J

    Hmm… So a 25 year old pitcher who has already had TJ surgery with a fastball that seems to sit in the low/mid 90’s and posted inconsistent numbers at AAA is claimed by another team.

    I know a little about Jose Lopez, and I know he has 4 serviceable pitches. But he lost a lot of velocity after his TJ surgery, and his strikeout numbers are nowhere near where they used to be. There was nothing in what he was doing that screamed “Future MLB pitcher.” to me. Maybe he’ll make it in the bullpen as a mopup guy somewhere, but I’m not too fussed.

  5. ToBeDetermined

    Maybe I’m wrong but isn’t that what we want. Players that we don’t have a current need for that other clubs wants. Doesn’t that mean the talent on the Reds is moving up