Otto Lopez getting a chance to showcase his talent

May 16th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter.'s Dawn Klemish contributed this report from Detroit. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

DETROIT -- If you’ve yet to discover who is, you’d be forgiven for the oversight. He hasn’t been around Miami for long, and he didn’t really begin to get a consistent opportunity until the Marlins dealt Luis Arraez.

But if he keeps hitting the way he has been lately, it’d be foolish to sleep on him.

Just ask the Tigers, who saw him collect a couple of hits and a pair of RBIs in the three-game series, including a go-ahead homer.

“Back home, it's all excitement,” said Lopez, a native of the Dominican Republic. “My parents are so excited about my success and what I'm doing right now. Even my teammates here, they're just so impressed about the job that I'm doing. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing.”

How good is he doing?

The score was tied at 3-3 at Comerica Park with two outs in the eighth inning on Monday when No. 61 came to the plate. New kid on the block locking horns with an established high-leverage guy.


Alex Faedo’s first-pitch slider left the park at 101.7 mph and landed in the left-field seats a Statcast-projected 404 feet away. Believe it or not, it was not only the shortest homer of Lopez’s career but the softest hit. Sure, he’s only gone deep three times -- twice in his last five games -- but there’s no denying his small sample is impressive. The other two:

April 27 vs. WSH: 103.9 mph exit velocity, 409 feet
Saturday vs. PHI: 107.7 mph, 421 feet

Of note, all three of Lopez’s pokes have come in the eighth inning or later, pumping late-game life into a team that will take any bit of offense it can get as the Marlins struggle to gain their footing this season.

“He just goes about it the right way,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “His preparation is excellent. The way he goes about it, not just infield drills [but] batting practice, the whole thing. He's a real likable guy that you root for because of how hard he works and how hard he prepares. So I'm giving him an opportunity. … He's making the most of it, and I'm proud of how he's going about it.”

Miami claimed Lopez off waivers from the Giants on April 4, but he didn’t make his Marlins debut until April 15, when Jake Burger landed on the injured list with an intercostal strain. The loss of Burger’s bat was a tough blow -- he led the team in RBIs at the time of his injury. Though Lopez was hitting 15-for-27 (.556) with four doubles and two homers in seven games with Triple-A Jacksonville at the time of his promotion, he played sparingly until Miami sent Arraez to the Padres on May 4.

Now, with Tim Anderson on the IL until at least Tuesday, Lopez -- who can play third base, second base and shortstop -- should get plenty of opportunities to showcase his stuff.

Consistent at-bats and habits, Lopez said, have made all the difference in both his confidence and his numbers: He’s slashing .292/.370/.625 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBIs in 11 games this month.

“Whenever I wake up, I set my mind to the positive,” Lopez said. “I talk to my family, get to the field and work on what I have to work on. I'm really consistent with my routine, and I keep to it every day I come to the field.”