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HomeDepth ChartTransactionsMasthead MastheadMeet the Players!Links White Sox Web LinksSouth Side Sox standardsCommunity GuidelinesOdds Shop StubHub nalysisWas Reynaldo Lpez good in 2018?New,46commentsHe had the highest WAR among White Sox pitchers, but there were troubling signs from the young fireballerByDarren JacksonOct 29, 2018,8:13am CDTShareTweetShareShareWas Reynaldo Lpez good in 2018?False Positive: In a downer of a White Sox season, Lpez was a bright spot — or was he?Matt Marton-USA TODAY SportsReynaldo Lopez was the best pitcher that Sox had this season, no ifs, ands or buts about it. His velocity ticked up over one mph on his fastball compared to 2017, and he added an above-average slider. That slider was rated 34th in baseball among hurlers with at least 120 innings pitched, so considering this was the first season Lpez ever threw a slider, that’s a great feat.However, Lopez did not add a slider as just another devastating tool in his arsenal. The truth is, he needed to add a slider, because his curveball and fastball faltered mightily for most of the season.Every scouting report on Lopez has the fastball and curve as by far his best pitches. His fastball ranged from great to elite, and the curveball was above-average to great. When they are on, they are great pitches.However, for most of the year, the fastball was a negative pitch, and the curve was much worse than normal. In 2018 Brian McCann Jersey , hitters had a 123 wRC+ against Lopez’s fastball, even with the uptick in velocity. The curveball was much worse, with a 226 wRC+. That seems to be a major reason why L贸pez’s curveball usage fell from 12.8% in 2017 to 5.5%. Just to round out pitches used, L贸pez’s changeup was at 112 wRC+ against, slightly better than last year. Meanwhile, his slider proved dominant, as Lopez only allowed a 39 wRC+. Sliders like you see in the video below are why the pitch was so effective.But for the season, L贸pez was really not overly impressive, because of how up-and-down his best stuff was. His 18.9 K%, though it was an improvement from last season, was ranked 91st out of 116 pitchers with a minimum 120 innings pitched. Meanwhile, his 9.4 BB% was 21st-worst rate among pitchers. Just to really hammer home how bad L贸pez was for the season, he had the fourth-worst xFIP (right behind Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rod贸n), along with the 22nd-worst FIP. Obviously, only having one positively-rated pitch in terms of wRC+ didn’t help.But pitch effectiveness is really only part of the story.Batters crushed Lopez. His 47.1% fly ball rate was extremely high for the type of contact he was giving up. His hard-hit percentage saw an 8% increase (to 35.3%) in 2018. Hard contact, according to Baseball Savant, are hits clocked at 95 mph or more. L贸pez gave up 199 batted balls that were 95 mph or faster, 13th-most in baseball. The hard contact led to an astronomical expected weighted on-base average on contact (wWOBACON) of .370. To put that into perspective, Joey Votto had the 19th-best wOBA in MLB at .370. So http://www.astrosfanproshop.com/authentic-justin-verlander-jersey , whenever Lopez gave up contact, on average, that batter was 2018 Joey Votto. That is not good.Even if you ignore the hard contact, L贸pez’s expected wOBA was .334, which ranks 223rd of 274. So whenever a batter went up against Lopez, the result basically would have been 2018 Jose Abreu, who had a wOBA of .337.That includes even the last two months of the season, when L贸pez had changeups like this:During his hot stretch to end 2018, L贸pez was better, but not where he should be. In 11 starts in August and September, L贸pez had a 2.70 ERA, 3.42 FIP, and 4.33 xFIP. That’s a nice improvement, but his base stats still did not translate as well as you’d expect. The strikeouts did improve, but for a pitcher with stuff like L贸pez’s, an 8.78 K/9 is low (though the walks were at a respectable 2.70 BB/9). Also, if you take a look at how L贸pez’s pitches rated in the last third of the season, they all improved.However, that does not paint a full picture.There were two starts where L贸pez did not even use his curveball. In the other nine starts Tyler Clippard Jersey , there were five games where his curve had a negative impact, and four times where it was positive. His changeup improved overall, but it was either his best pitch of the day, or (in four of 11 starts) it was beyond terrible. L贸pez had two starts where his change was rated at or worse than -10.0, which is have-you-ever-thrown-a-changeup-in-your-life? bad.Even the slider, L贸pez’s best pitch in 2018, faltered several times down the stretch. The fastball was the only pitch that showed real improvement and consistency. That is probably why Reynaldo used his fastball 60.5% of the time, which is too much use of any one pitch. But he needed to overuse his heat, because it seems he could not totally trust any other offering.Now, 2018 was not really a good year for Reynaldo Lopez, but that does not mean he has lost any prospect hype. After all, without any consistency from his pitches, he still ended up with a 3.91 ERA in 188 innings.L贸pez’s fastball usage needs to drop closer to the 50% mark, which would also help him with his first-inning woes. In 2018, the first inning was by far L贸pez’s worst inning, with a 5.91 ERA — coincidentally, the first time through the order is when he uses his fastball the most.Because his curveball is so highly-rated by scouts, L贸pez still has a chance to find it. A 95 mph fastball with a proven, albeit inconsistent slider http://www.astrosfanproshop.com/authentic-justin-verlander-jersey , and a changeup that is masterful when L贸pez has a feel for it would be a devastating four-pitch arsenal — if he can recoup his curve.At the very least, in 2018 L贸pez proved he can be a workhorse, and have an above-average ERA without good pitches. But this offseason will be huge for the young starter if he wants to become a starting pitcher, instead of a reliever pretending to start.For now, from a pure stuff standpoint, there is no reason to favor L贸pez over Giolito in the future. Signed to a 3 year deal, DBacks bank on Escobar repeating 2018’s power surge"If familiar with this series go ahead and skip to poll. If not, please read on.This series of articles will run from now until shortly before opening day. The purpose is to crowd source the D-Backs fans of this website to get a sense of how they feel about the prospects of each individual player on the 40 man roster. For this exercise I will only be using rate (average) stats and poll the readers on their sense of direction for that player’s level of basic performance, regardless of playing time expectations.I’m not including defense and base running, so no WAR here, as that is playing time dependent. You will be given two poll options:The player will either exceed the projection or under perform the projection by 5% for hitters OPS or 10% for pitchers ERA/FIP.There is no middle option to vote on. (Otherwise the majority of votes would end up agreeing with the projection).What I am looking for is if you are forced to indicate your sense of direction for the player, is it well over or under the projection?Other Points of note:Projections are the average of Steamer and ZIPS projections.(Click through for original tables)The projections draw on 3 or 4 year samples, weighting most recent seasons the heaviest, but I’m just showing 2018 and career statsin mini table below for simplicityThe player’s name is high lighted with a link to the player’s Baseball-Reference page.Click on that to see more player history and detailAge is the 2019 player age.Polls will run until mid March, so if you miss a player,you can go to the story stream box on the front page andfind a player you might have missed .Please let us know in the comments section your thoughts behind your vote. Thanks !CONTEXTEDUARDO ESCOBAR Age 30Eduardo Escobar has a projection for a .770 OPS.Is he likely to come in Over or Under ?