The Cincinnati Reds made it official at 11:33am this morning, calling up Alejo Lopez from Triple-A Louisville. Late last night he confirmed the news on his instagram page after there were some rumors floating around about it late on Sunday night.

It is tough to know exactly how and where the team will play and use Alejo Lopez. He mostly plays second base, but he’s also played third base both this season and in the past, and he’s had some limited experience playing left field while with Monterrey in the Mexican Winter League. For the last month those spots have been played by Jonathan India, Eugenio Suárez, and Jesse Winker in Cincinnati. Lopez isn’t being called up to push one of those guys to the bench.

That seems to leave open two options, assuming there’s not an injury to one of those players that we haven’t yet heard about: Pinch hitting Alejo Lopez almost every day, or playing him at third base until Mike Moustakas returns and sliding Eugenio Suárez back to shortstop.

Both of those options present some problems. Using Alejo Lopez as a pinch-hitter certainly provides a better option in many cases than what the Reds have been going to. This season he’s hitting .355/.428/.487 from the left side and he’s hitting .375/.464/.479 from the right side. Against a left-handed pitcher he may be even more dangerous in some situations – he’s struck out just once in 56 trips to the plate. One time. If you need contact he’s likely to make it. With that said, it would almost feel like a waste to use him in such a limited role.

If you start him at third base the problem is less about what he can do. The problem is that Eugenio Suárez has been the worst defensive shortstop in baseball by a wide margin when he’s been out there this season. With Kyle Farmer dropping his OPS under the .600 mark, though, the trade off between adding in the bat of Lopez and the downgrade in defense from benching Farmer at shortstop may still be a net positive.

At the plate Alejo Lopez is doing a lot of things right. This season he’s hit .360/.437/.485 with 19 doubles and two home runs in 49 games played between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville. He’s walked 24 times and struck out just 19 times in 229 plate appearances. At the plate you’re going to get a strong approach at the plate, little swing-and-miss from either side of the plate, and doubles power that has to be respected. In Great American Ballpark there could be some extra home runs with how right field plays, though we still shouldn’t expect a bunch of home runs showing up out of nowhere.

Defensively he’s a solid defender. He doesn’t make many errors on the infield. He’s not likely to wow you with his range, but he makes the routine play. If he winds up in the outfield – well, I can’t comment much on that. His only outfield action came last winter with Monterrey and I simply haven’t had enough viewing opportunities to chime in on how he looked out there.

Career Minor League Stats

24 Responses

  1. JOSEPH JONES

    THE SMART THING TO DO WOULD BE TO TRADE SUARETZ. START REBUILDING FOR THE FUTURE. HE, SIMPLY CAN NOT HIT. ALSO, TRY TO UNLOAD THE DEAD WEIGHT OF VOTTO? BETTER TO SIMPLY RELEASE VOTTO? ALSO, FIRE THE MANAGER? NONE OF THESE THINGS THOUGH WILL HAPPEN AND THE REDS WILL FINISH AGAIN LAST. SIGH.

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds are 10 games ahead of the Pirates my dude. They aren’t finishing last.

      • m2

        Obviously you’re right the Reds will most definitely finish ahead of their Pittsburgh rivals but beyond the rant the question remains will the Reds be relevant with the squad as constituted? I would argue no and would say unfortunately trades and moves weren’t made (such as moving Suarez when he had value) or even others. I would point to at least one outfielder who should be traded to obtain value. Keep the same business plan and your product won’t change much and remember lots of resources (spelled money) expended poorly based on team expertise yields an inferior team. That is the problem with this franchise…poor talent evaluation and development. It can change and quickly without a mamouth infusion of cash. Doug, on the other hand, your day to day coverage of players both amateurs and minor leagues amazes. I hope you feel appreciated and adequately rewarded.

    • Shawn

      Should have traded Suarez in the off season when they decided they wasn’t going to try and win. I wouldn’t trade him now till next offseason and hope he builds some value. I would eat money and trade Mouskakas. That was a dumb signing even if he hadn’t had the injury trouble he’s had. We didn’t need a 2nd or 3rd baseman when we signed him.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree on Moose. We will have to eat a lot of money.

  2. Tom

    Early on in his pro career, you had to take notice that this was a guy who walked more than he K’d. He seemed to slide back from that the following two seasons. Skip 2020 and here he is back to his old ways, but also hitting for some power. Doug, is there a back story on his development?

    • Doug Gray

      There is a little bit, but I wrote about it for Baseball America last week (I don’t believe it’s published yet…. but they might want to hop on that train today given the news lol), so I’m not going to dive into that one here. They pay me to keep a few things exclusive to them for a bit.

  3. Kap

    I know you said that Lopez can’t play short. Suarez can’t either. They won’t do it but I would try it anyway. Literally no negatives

    • Doug Gray

      Sorry Kap, but no. The idea that there are no negatives just isn’t true. Tucker Barnhart at shortstop would be a negative in every possible way. Joey Votto at shortstop? Big time negative.

      Suarez is a better shortstop than Lopez is.

      • Melvin

        There is a big difference when comparing C and 1B to playing SS as to comparing another middle infielder. I understand both sides but if it were me I’d try India or Lopez mostly because this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in what situation the Reds have put themselves into regarding a ML SS. If Suarez has played and still is in consideration for playing there then any idea is worth exploring. Remember we’re not talking about a permanent solution. Just the best thing to do until Barrero is ready (which can’t be too soon). Besides, giving one or both of those two some playing time there only gives more options and can only help. The chances of them being a bigger bust than Suarez, to me, are slim to none.

  4. Hoyce

    Hey Doug- gimme ur best idea of what India would look like at SS.
    And would a Suarez for hader swap be completely absurd? I think that helps both teams tremendously. And I get all the hurdles of such trade. Just an idea….
    And good for Lopez. Hope he actually sees PT

  5. RED THUNDER

    Farmer has been playing SS almost every day and looks to be wearing down, especially with hitting. Maybe this is a way of giving him some days off. Seems the Reds would rather move Suarez back to SS and some weak defense with it, then call-up light hitting Alfredo Rodriguez or Jose Barrero. Hopefully Lopez can bring his good hitting skills with him and it rubs off on some current players. I think he has earn his shot and its up to Bell to get that hot hitter into a game.

  6. SteveO

    Would love to see Barrero to Louisville and DeLeon to Chattanooga with Robinson as a backup. If the Reds are high on DeLeon, he should start at SS for the Lookouts. Robinson needs to move to a bench role. Schrock should start at 2B during his rehab assignment and Rodriguez start at 3B or vise versa. When Schrock is ready, he replaces Freeman on the Reds roster.

  7. DaveCT

    I may have missed it but the Lopez-as PH and subsequent double switch option have David bell written all over it. A quality LH option for late game replacement at 3B and possibly (ugh) India sure seems to fit the manager. Also, the dog days approach and both India and Geno will need days to recover. At least until (if) Moose returns..

  8. Eric

    A couple of thoughts on this. Could Lopez be up to showcase as a trade piece? Something else could they be opening a spot in Louisville to get Barrero there to make it easier to call him up if he hits as well there as he has in Chattanooga? The kid has earned the promotion, no question. I just hope he gets a chance to play and show the kind of hitter he has been this year at AA/AAA.

    • Alan Horn

      If Lopez looks good, then why would you want to trade him? Instead, move some of the high priced dead weight hitters even if it costs a lot to do so. First, lets wait to see how Lopez does.

  9. Rob

    What round was Alejo Lopez drafted in? Or, how did they obtain him (international draft)? Will he be added to the top twenty-five prospects at mid-season?

      • Brad

        Congrats to Alejo Lopez! I think Reds found the next, switch-hitting, Lenny Harris. Don’t even need a glove just pinch-hit everyday for rest of his career.

        Awesome story.

    • Van Wilhoite

      Drafted in the 27th round out of high school. That was higher than the Reds drafted Andrew Benintendi out of high school