With 22% of his pitch usage, Lopez’s primary offspeed offering is his most effective pitch overall, getting batters to chase (45.8% O-Swing) and whiff consistently (17.2% SwStr). He’s also able to throw it for strikes (43% Zone, 77.3% Z-Contact) thanks to excellent depth and armside run and good velocity separation off a similarly-shaped sinker (7.5 mph). His changeup was hit for 6 HR when left elevated in the zone but, with those kinks ironed out as he gains experience, this could be a Money Pitch for him for years to come.
Thanks to pretty average movement, Lopez’s curveball was not a consistent putaway pitch in 2019, generating below-average chase rates (26.9%) and whiff rates (11%). Although he ended up using it a little over 19% of his pitches for the season, he leaned more on his superior fastball/changeup combo after returning from shoulder trouble in late August. The news wasn’t all bad though, as batters managed to hit just .210 with a .687 OPS against it, with 70% of its usage coming while ahead in the count.
Pablo Lopez leans on his fastballs about 60% of his pitches but does show a couple looks: one a fourseamer, and a sinker he uses about half as often with similar velocity (93.7 mph) but significantly more dip and armside run. The fourseam look is in the zone more often and generates slightly higher SwStr%, though neither would qualify as a putaway pitch (7.9 vs 7.0 SwStr%). The sinker generates a good number of chases (37.8%) especially down and out of the zone and he does get his fair share of groundballs with it (67%). Unfortunately of the 9 times batters were able to elevate it in 2019, 3 went for HR, totaling an .874 OPS against.
Hovering around the low 90s, Lopez’s four-seamer didn’t make much leeway in his rookie campaign. Along with a .369 wOBA, the pitch netted a 26.4% line-drive rate and miniscule 7.4% swinging-strike rate. Yet there’s hope for a sophomore turnaround, as the pitcher’s ISO plummeted (.600, .382, .133) each month.
His secondary fastball spawned a 65.4% ground-ball rate, but two of his mere six fly balls soared over the fences. Although hitters are chasing it outside the zone (37.6%), they still notched an 85.2% contact rate and 6.9% swinging-strike rate. While the pitch holds some merit, it ultimately yielded undesirable results (.317/.379/.500) in his first go-around.
Although not as valuable as his changeup, Lopez’s curveball corralled a .270 wOBA. A 61.4% contact and 16.1% swinging-strike rate each represented the best mark among his four-pitch repertoire. He used it more (23.1%) in August, when he posted a 3.00 ERA through five turns.
Opponents mustered a .168 wOBA against Lopez’s changeup, which allured hitters to chase outside the zone at an obscene 48.7% rate. It was his only pitch to produce a positive pVal (4.1), but he also deployed it less often (19.2%) than any of his other three offerings. The weapon represents his key to sticking in Miami’s rotation.