Lopez has been the saving grace for rebuild-apologists. He’s been the best prospect on the major league team and he’s truly been Exhibit A, B, and C on if the rebuild could actually work.
The argument could be made that Lopez has gone above and beyond his expectations but his adjusted goals, as the ace of this staff, should be to continue his strong form throughout the rest of the season and remain consistent. Also not to overdo it. Major injuries this early could tremendously hamper development.
He’s on pace to pitch around 200 innings and have around 125 strikeouts. Wins and losses do not matter. His record would be a lot better if not for an awful bullpen behind him. He currently has 10 quality starts. Other pitchers that have 10 quality starts are James Paxton, Mike Clevinger, and Miles Mikolas. Chris Sale has 11, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Trevor Bauer, and Gerrit Cole have 12. Quality starts (at least 6 IP, 3 ER or less) can be a misleading stat but being mentioned with the names above are a great sign for the 24-year old righty.
If Lopez continues his strong season, expect for him to have more than 175 IP, around 125-150 strikeouts, and a quality start rate of about 75 percent. That would be a great second season for a young starting pitcher who was projected to be a number two or three-starter coming into the year.