Update: February 12, 5:25pm
Jose Lopez has been claimed on waivers by the San Francisco Giants.
Original story below
The Cincinnati Reds announced that they have designated right-handed pitcher Jose Lopez for assignment. The move was made to open up a spot on the 40-man roster for left-handed reliever Zach Duke, who the Reds agreed to a deal with last week but only made official earlier today.
The Reds originally drafted Jose Lopez out of Seton Hall in the 6th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. He didn’t pitch that year as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. The next season he joined the Billings Mustangs in the second half. The 21-year-old pitched well in his pro debut, posting a 3.16 ERA in 57.0 innings.
The next season saw Jose Lopez step up and split his season between Dayton and Daytona. Between those two stops he posted a 4.07 ERA in 148.0 innings, allowing just five home runs, walking just 42 batters, and he struck out 147. But it was the 2017 season that saw him break out in the minor leagues. Splitting his season in Daytona and Pensacola, he dominated. With the Tortugas he made nine starts, throwing 50.2 innings. He was then promoted to Double-A Pensacola where he pitched in 17 more games. Between those stops he combined for a 2.57 ERA in 147.0 innings. He walked 49 batters and struck out 143.
Last year he spent the entire season in Triple-A Louisville. Overall he was solid, but unspectacular. In 141.0 innings he posted a 4.47 ERA with 41 walks and 117 strikeouts. His strikeout rate dropped significantly from where it had been in the past. Overall his season was a tale of two stretched. In his first seven starts with the Bats he posted a 5.80 ERA in 35.2 innings. In his next 17 starts he posted a 3.72 ERA in 94.1 innings. The final two starts of the season were a bit of a struggle for the right-hander, allowing 8 runs in 11.0 innings.
The Reds have a lot of pitching depth currently, but Jose Lopez wasn’t the first guy that I expected to be removed from the roster if and when the team needed a spot. It’s possible that he could remain in the organization if no one claims him. We are going to have to wait and see if that happens. He may put his travel on hold, though. Pitchers and catchers were due to be in Goodyear tomorrow. He currently has nowhere to report, and there’s a chance he could be claimed and have to report somewhere in Florida.