With Opening Day just around the corner, more solidified lineup decisions are being made in the Kansas City Royals. Jorge Lopez has had a great spring so far; is he making a case to be the fifth starter in the rotation?
A newer face in the organization, Jorge Lopez was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers alongside Brett Phillips for Mike Moustakas last year. He spent time as both a starter and reliever with the Brewers, but he is currently posing the potential to be the fifth starter in the rotation for the Kansas City Royals.
The righty gained notoriety in the organization when he threw a near-perfect game during the 2018 season. He claimed in a post Spring Training game interview yesterday that he felt good, and his stuff reminded him of when he almost tossed the perfect game.
Even though he walked five batters, which is sort of out of character, he said it still felt like he was throwing well. He didn’t feel like there was an issue with his control and command, he thought he had every pitch. He hit the 82 mark on pitch count today, which was the plan for him.
His statistics throughout the duration of Spring Training have been fairly good for the small sample size, tallying a 1-0 record in three games started. Through a total of 9.1 innings of work, he has yielded an ERA of 1.93 and a WHIP of 1.286.
According to Baseball Reference, his 2019 projections don’t look all that great. They predict an ERA of 4.36 through 66.0 innings pitched and a WHIP of 1.348. He was used mainly in the bullpen as a Milwaukee Brewer, but he does have the potential to take on the role of the fifth starter for the Kansas City Royals.
As long he continues to do well, it’s possible an announcement will be forthcoming with him in the slot as the fifth starter. Right now, he is seeming like the best option to take on the role, at least to start the 2019 season.