Alejo Lopez Takes A Big Step Forward
When Alejo Lopez began the 2021 season he was a career. 297 hitter who had found success at the Rookie and Class A levels.
The 25-year-old second baseman had little trouble adapting to Double-A this season. He hit .362/.437/.448 in 25 games for Chattanooga before being promoted to Triple-A Louisville.
“Hitting is just something I’ve always done well,” said Lopez, the Reds' 27th-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Phoenix. “I’ve always felt comfortable at the plate.”
The switch-hitter continued his outstanding season at Triple-A that quickly turned into a callup to Cincinnati on June 28.
On top of hitting for a high average, Lopez was also showing a much better approach at the plate and piling up extra-base hits. His previous high for doubles in a season was 17, which he tallied in 2019 at High-A Daytona in 124 games.
In 2021, Lopez surpassed that total in his 43rd game of the season.
Spending time in big league spring training this year was beneficial for Lopez.
“There’s a lot of things that are important in this game that you learn from people talking about them, and then you get to experience them on the field.”
It wasn’t just being around big leaguers that has helped Lopez take a step forward.
“There were a lot of meetings that had to do with the swing, and we got to learn a lot about what the Reds are trying to do on the field right now," Lopez said.
Being around big leaguers, learning from coaches and having more experience all have helped him improve in 2021.
“I just know how to hit better now,” Lopez said. “I know situations better. I know my swing better. I know myself as a player better. I’ve developed to be who I am today.
"I know why the ball carries, why my swing works the way it works. When you start understanding these things, then you can give yourself the chance to add power to it because now you know how to truly hit.”
— Righthander Graham Ashcraft threw a two-hit complete game shutout with eight strikeouts in his Double-A debut. That made it five consecutive starts without allowing an earned run, covering 32 innings between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga.
— Low-A Daytona second baseman Tyler Callihan is likely out for the year after injuring his right elbow early in June.
— Daytona third baseman Rece Hinds tore the meniscus in his knee and it required surgery. He was expected to miss at least another month for Daytona.