Mike Maddux and staff will be poring over the results on Reynaldo Lopez

Mike Maddux and staff will be poring over the data and video from the Reynaldo Lopez debut last night. The results were mixed, but the overwhelming talent is there. If Maddux can fix that fastball command, he will have another top of the rotation star on the horizon.

We saw a dazzling debut last night from Reynaldo Lopez that featured nine strikeouts all on a combination of breaking pitches and change-ups. Lopez did not have one strikeout on a fastball. It doesn’t take a genius to tell you what an advanced scout told us that “he didn’t command his fastball much” and that is probably an understatement, but he also did not create deception with it and change the eye level and paint it.

reynaldo lopez debut getty

Lopez started off the game with three straight fastballs to Chase Utley. Why? The first fastball was out of the zone. The second fastball was dead red and Utley watched it. The veteran expected a fastball on the third pitch and he got it and deposited it for a HR and did not even get the fat part of the bat on the ball.

Reynaldo Lopez debut

Lopez only achieved four swings & misses on the fastball of the 61 he threw. Seven fastballs turned into hits. His swing & miss percentage on all of his off-speed was 20.45% combined. The only batter that put Lopez’s change-up into play was Chase Utley, and that was because he set a pattern of Change-up to fastball to Change-up to fastball to Change-up, and Chase Utley figured it out. At 37-years-old he figures things out. Didn’t Lobaton know better? Twice Utley figured out the pattern. The 3rd time they faced Utley they mixed it up on Utley and Lopez got a gift 3rd strike call “looking”.

Lopez finished better than he started. He showed composure and no sign of panic. As we wrote last night, “he had an eye-popping 9 strikeouts in those 4 2/3 innings and dazzled with a knee buckling curveball, a changeup that tumbled, a tight slider, and fastballs that sizzled near 99mph.”

Mike Rizzo is sure to be fielding calls from other GMs that want to trade for Reynaldo Lopez, and Rizzo has to decide what makes sense for the immediate and long-term future of this team. Do you believe this statement?

Mike Rizzo had his Johnny DiPuglia who is the Nationals’ VP of International Operations fly to D.C. for Lopez’ debut.  “It’s a good day for scouting department,” Rizzo said referring specifically to the international scouting department.

Mike Rizzo said on MLB Network Radio on Sunday that he could foresee both Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez pitching out of the bullpen for the Washington Nationals this season. “[Lopez] is a real tool for us…He can help us as a starting role and as a bullpen role. I see him [in the future] as a good starter all the way,” said Mike Rizzo.


Mike Rizzo admitted prior to Lopez’s start that he did not have “pinpoint” control, and while pinpoint control has been what has made finesse pitchers successful, power pitchers can thrive with good control as it is hard to barrel up 97 mph if it’s not left over the center of the plate. Oddly, when you watch the video of Utley’s HR, it looked like Lobaton set-up outside then moved his mitt over the middle of the plate and lower in the zone.

Could we see Reynaldo Lopez get another start and make some necessary tweaks along with having Wilson Ramos catch him, and critique those results or is this a crucial time where you cannot afford to chance another start?

This is the chart from the 2 RBI single to Joc Pederson in the 1st inning. Pederson saw 3 fastballs and one curveball, and he didn’t miss the fastball right over the plate.

reynaldo lopez to pederson 1st inning for RBI
This is the chart from the RBI single to Yasiel Puig in the 5th inning. Puig saw 5 fastballs and one curveball, and he didn’t miss the fastball that was supposed to be at the top of the zone.

reynaldo lopez to puig in the 5th inning for RBI

This entry was posted in Analysis. Bookmark the permalink.