Last season BCB readers (sic) participated in the annual ranking of the Brewers’ top prospects. Let’s see how those prospects advanced (or not) their standings in the list.
#3: Jorge Lopez
Jorge Lopez pitched very well for AA Biloxi in 2015. So well that he got a September call-up to the Brewers. He didn’t repeat his success for the Brewers that he had for the Shuckers, but he wasn’t awful. He had two starts, and went 1-1 with an xFIP of 3.82. He even posted a WAR of 0.2!
And now, how do we evaluate a pitching prospect that pitches in Colorado Springs? Is it even possible to draw conclusions from their performance there? Are the Brewers risking ruining their top prospects by even allowing them to pitch there?
Jorge did not fare well at the high altitude in Colorado Springs. He started 16 of his 17 appearances, and did not post numbers that are very encouraging. In 79.1 innings he allowed 101 hits and 55 walks. That is a WHIP of 1.97, and he walked nearly 3 more per 9 innings pitched than he did in AA the previous season. Is that because he couldn’t control his pitches at altitude, or because he was getting hit so hard that he was afraid to throw strikes? He allowed 12 homers in those 79.1 innings.
By late July, the Brewers had seen enough. Lopez was returned to AA Biloxi. Was it a demotion, or were the Brewers trying to rebuild his confidence against lesser competition? Or both?
In any case, the move produced better results for Jorge than he achieved in the Springs. But the results weren’t nearly as good as his performance in 2015 for Biloxi. In 2015, Lopez had a WHIP of 1.10 in AA; that moved up to 1.35 in 2016. His BABIP moved from .259 in ‘15 to .323 in ‘16. HR per 9 innings moved from .56 to .99. FIP moved from 3.36 to 3.81.
So. How do we rate this mishmash? How can the Brewers keep sending pitching prospects to Colorado Springs? Will Jorge Lopez rebound in 2017, and if so, where will this happen?
As you can see, I have no idea what 2016 told us about Jorge Lopez. And I have no idea if the Brewers can learn anything about him in 2017 unless he is in Milwaukee. He has done what he can in Biloxi. He has shown that he can’t be effective in Colorado Springs. But neither was Wily Peralta, before coming up to the Brewers and returning to solid starter status in Milwaukee.
I welcome more cogent analysis of what the Brewers have in Jorge Lopez. I am stumped. Fortunately, I have no more pitchers to try and evaluate in this list, so things will be easier from now on.
Unless there are serious questions about what happened with prospect #2...
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs