Chicago White Sox: 5 underrated heroes of the 2021 season

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
Chicago White Sox, Reynaldo Lopez
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Reynaldo Lopez has been shockingly great for the Chicago White Sox this year.

Getting assigned a spot start the day of a doubleheader is not easy. Neither is spending a season in Triple-A after pitching three seasons in the Major Leagues. But that is exactly what Reynaldo Lopez has had to do this season. The former top number four prospect in the organization has revitalized his career.

After throwing two scoreless innings of mop-up duty three days prior, he was called upon to start on July 19th to start the second game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins. Lopez took his opportunity and ran with it. The White Sox have used him as a reliever and a spot starter and he has thrived in each role.

In 14 innings as a reliever, he has only allowed three runs. His best performance came against Cleveland on August 1st, when he tossed three scoreless innings and struck out four. When Cy-Young candidate Carlos Rodon went down with an injury Lopez was thrust into the fifth starter role.

He has filled in admirably for Carlos. On August 17th, he fired five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and punching out four Oakland A’s. He earned the win for his efforts. Even when Rodon returns, Lopez has carved out a nice role for himself on the playoff roster.

Entering his start against Tampa Bay, he was working on a scoreless streak at 10 2/3 innings. Through 29 innings this season Lopez has posted a 1.86 ERA. That is a complete 180 from his 7.62 ERA in Charlotte this season. Ultimately, look for him to be a long reliever for the rest of the season. Nine of his 12 outings have lasted multiple innings. That is a useful tool waiting in the bullpen, especially if one of the starters needs a quick hook in the playoffs.