Chicago White Sox: 2021 grade for Reynaldo Lopez
In 2018, Reynaldo Lopez looked like someone that was going to be a part of the Chicago White Sox pitching staff for a long time. Unfortunately, he took a step back in 2019 and wasn’t very good at all in 2020. He came into 2021 fighting for a job at all.
We knew that Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn, and Dylan Cease would be the guys in the top four of the rotation. Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon had a spring training battle for the fifth starter role and Rodon won it in a landslide.
Not only did Rodon win it, but he was also so good all year long that he came in fifth for the American League Cy Young. As a result of this, Lopez had to be sent down to the Minor League squad to start the season.
Down in AAA Charlotte, Lopez battled. He wasn’t as good at first but he earned a break mid-season when the White Sox called him up. Much to everyone’s pleasant surprise, Lopez was very good upon his arrival back to Major League Baseball.
He carried that through the entire season. He made starts and he also worked out of the bullpen. There is no doubt that he was what the White Sox needed down the stretch to help others get rest for different reasons. He also did his career well because he looked like an MLB pitcher.
Lopez appeared in 20 games for the 2021 White Sox where he pitched 57.2 innings. He had a 4-4 record with an ERA of 3.43 and a WHIP of 0.954. He also had 55 strikeouts to only 13 walks in those appearances. His command was as good as it has been so far in his MLB career. it is certainly the type of year to build on.
The Chicago White Sox were patient with Reynaldo Lopez and it may have paid off.
2021 Final Grade: B
Reynaldo Lopez gets a B. He would get an A if he was better in AAA to be called up earlier but a B just feels fair for him after this season. He showed that he can come in and eat some meaningful innings on a good team.
His WHIP is under one which shows that he had a great command that could even be built on if he keeps working. He should be proud of the way that he has handled himself since he started to struggle in the big leagues because that allowed him to find his game again.
Michael Kopech is moving to the starting rotation. Garrett Crochet is also in the long-term plans to be a starter. However, Carlos Rodon is probably going to leave in free agency and we don’t know what the role of Dallas Keuchel will be.
Some of these factors will affect Lopez’s future as a Chicago White Sox pitcher. You can expect him to be with the organization in 2022, we just don’t know what his role will look like. The team will be in good shape if he is one of their full-time bullpen arms going forward.