Self scouting report: Blue Jays' Otto Lopez

Blue Jays' infield prospect gives himself highest grades for work ethic

March 24th, 2020

Otto Lopez is excited for what’s next, whenever that may come.

The 21-year-old shortstop made a big impression in his first full season of professional baseball last year when he hit .324/.371/.425 for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Class A Midwest League. Lopez hit five homers and five triples to go with 20 doubles, 20 stolen bases and 50 RBIs in 108 games, skyrocketing him up the Blue Jays' Top 30 Prospects list, where he landed at No. 13 heading into the 2020 season.

“That was really exciting for me,” Lopez said of opening eyes around the game. “Finally people could see the work that I do during the season, and I’m really proud of myself for what I accomplished. I’m going to keep doing more and more.”

Toronto experimented a little bit with the 5-foot-10, 160-pound right-handed hitter, giving him playing time at second base as well as in left field and right, though he spent the majority of his time at short. Lopez understands there is some hesitation to the belief that he can move up the ladder as a shortstop, but he is confident he can continue to prove it’s where he belongs.

“I want to stay there,” he said. “I think my speed is going to help me a lot, my footwork has improved and that’s going to help me, too. And my arm strength is building, and it’s all going to make a difference there.”

Evaluating himself using a Major League Scouting Bureau report and the 2-to-8 scouting scale, basing his grades on the standards set by the Bureau, Lopez offered insight into the belief that he just needs to play to his potential to find success on the field.

Top tools
The Dominican-born, Montreal-raised infielder gave himself the highest present and future grade in his aggressiveness, offering top-of-the-scale evaluation of the intangible tool, with the belief that it helps him the most in the field.

“It helps me to get the spin off the ball [when throwing across the diamond], to get it straight,” Lopez said. “Being aggressive and charging and having that extra time, I think that’s what I have to thank for not making errors in my throwing.”

Room to improve
Keeping a number of his grades consistent from present to future, Lopez feels confident in his current arm strength, but also in his ability to build on that and allow that tool to become a difference-maker in the future.

“I’ve got a routine that I have been doing during Spring Training that has been helping me a lot in building that strength,” he said. “If I can continue to do that and stick to that routine during the season, that’s going to be really helpful for me in getting better and being able to get stronger.”

Scouting the scout
Offering insight into his own game and grades, the infielder shared that he had no previous experience with scouting reports or the grading scale, though he was willing to take a shot at it for the exercise.

What the scouts say
“He’s a small guy but he had really good numbers last year,” one evaluator said. “I like the 20 doubles and 20 stolen bases, though he got thrown out a little bit. His on-base is really good, doesn’t strike out much. His arm might be short for shortstop, but he puts the bat on the ball, he drives the ball and he does good things.”

What’s missing
The biggest thing that Lopez stressed about the evaluation in front of him was that it didn’t have the ability to delve into his work ethic, which he believes will have the most impact on his career.

“I work a lot,” he said. “I spend a lot of time on my defense, because that’s one of the things that I need to work on a lot, and it’s something that’s going to help me move through the levels of the organization to get to where I want to be. But this can’t tell people how hard I work.”