The 2017 season began for Alejo Lopez in the same place that the 2016 season ended. The Cincinnati Reds sent the infielder back to Billings for the second straight year. In 2016 he had hit .273/.342/.327 for the Mustangs with two more walks than he had strikeouts.
The season didn’t start out on the best note for 21-year-old Alejo Lopez. He went 0-7 in the first two games of the season for the Mustangs. He picked things up from there, though. Over the final week of June he went 10-23 (.435) with three doubles and two home runs. The two home runs already topped his 2016 total.
July began with an 0-4 effort with two strikeouts against Great Falls. Over the next two weeks Alejo Lopez would run off a 12-game hitting streak. He would rack up 17 hits in 40 at-bats (.425) with seven walks, three doubles, two triples and a home run. A pinch hitting appearance on July 16th would end his hitting streak, and he’d go 0-2 with 2 walks the next day. He would start up another hit streak, this one lasting eight games, and finish out the month’s final 11 games with 12 hits in 38 at-bats. July would be a strong month as Lopez hit .341/.418/.482 with eight extra-base hits and 11 walks. He had just nine strikeouts in 102 plate appearances.
Things got out to a slow start in August. Over the first six games of the month, Alejo Lopez hit just .200. That did come with seven walks, good for a .455 on-base percentage in that span. The switch hitter picked things up from August 9th through the 18th, hitting .313/.395/.563 in eight games played. Things almost hit a stand-still after that. In the final 10 games of August he would go 4-29 (.138), finishing out the month on a down note. The late slump led to a .224/.344/.395 line. He has 14 walks and strikeouts, along with seven extra base hits on the month.
The slump continued into the first four games of September. Alejo Lopez managed just one hit in that stretch for Billings. He could close out the season with a strong final five games, hitting .474 without a strikeout in 23 plate appearances. In the nine games played on the month to end the season he hit .345/.421/.345.
For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Alejo Lopez Spray Charts
As a switch hitter there will be three different charts for Lopez – As a left handed hitter, as a right handed hitter, and then an overall chart that combines both.
Combined Spray Chart
As Left Handed Hitter
As Right Handed Hitter
Alejo Lopez Scouting Report
Hitting | As a switch hitter, Lopez has always hit for a better average as a lefty than a righty. He’s hit .311 in 354 at-bats as a left handed hitter, but just .245 as a right handed hitter in 102 at-bats. He projects better as a lefty than a righty, but he projects better as a right handed hitter than he’s shown thus far in his career. Overall, he’s got the potential for an above-average hit tool.
Power | Lopez is not likely to show a ton of power. Double digit homers isn’t out of the question, but it’s likely he’s going to be an 8-12 homer type than beyond that.
Running | He’s got above-average speed, but doesn’t always show it.
Arm | His arm is average, which plays fine at second base.
Defense | He’s sure handed and shows solid range at second base.
It’s the possibilities with the bat that stick out the most for Alejo Lopez. His potential to hit for a good average, and make tons of contact along the way sticks out. For his career he’s walked more than he’s struck out. In fact, he’s done that all three years he’s been a professional. He’s also shown good base stealing abilities, going 22-for-29 over the last two seasons.
Defensively he’s played mostly second and third base, but second base will be his long-term home. His bat just doesn’t play enough at third. He’s also had very limited time at shortstop in his career, playing in eight games – starting in three. There’s a chance his bat develops enough that he profiles as a starting caliber second baseman, but he looks like a possible future utility infielder right now. The limited power output holds back the ceiling, but his ability to play multiple spots, make tons of contact, run a little bit and provide quality at-bats goes a long way.