It usually takes more than a few months to see the on-field results start to show up for international free agents in baseball.
When the Reds signed Mexican lefthander Misael Lopez in June, their hope was to have him pitch in the summer. Unfortunately, his work visa was delayed and he didn’t pitch during the regular season.
This winter, though, Lopez has been pitching in the Mexican Pacific League for Los Mochis. Facing opponents who are much older, the 18-year-old Lopez has dominated in his time on the mound.
Lopez’s first four appearances came in relief, but toward the end of November he made the jump to the rotation. Through 11 appearances and 33 innings, he had recorded a 2.18 ERA and 0.97 WHIP to go with 34 strikeouts.
The young lefty was throwing four pitches this winter. His fastball sat 88-91 mph, though it has been a tad higher in the past. His slider and changeup both come to the plate in the low 80s, and his slow curveball arrives in the mid-70s.
Best of all, Lopez has shown a willingness and ability to use all of his pitches as necessary.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, Lopez could have more velocity in the tank. But at that size, he will need to keep an eye on his conditioning.
Lopez’s advanced feel for pitching is already benefiting him on the mound this winter. The Reds are hoping to see that continue in 2020, when Lopez will pitch in affiliated ball.
— Cincinnati picked out outfielder Mark Payton from the Athletics’ system in the Rule 5 draft. The 28-year-old lefthanded hitter’s new approach to hit more fly balls helped him break out at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .334/.400/.653 with 30 doubles and 30 home runs in 118 games in 2019. He’ll head into spring training competing for one of the outfield spots on the Reds’ big league roster.