CHICAGO -- Through two innings of the White Sox 6-3 victory over the Royals on Friday night, Reynaldo Lopez threw 19 pitches at 97 mph or above.That sort of high velocity could be chalked up in some way to Lopez having a little extra energy behind already electric stuff during
CHICAGO -- Through two innings of the White Sox 6-3 victory over the Royals on Friday night, Reynaldo Lopez threw 19 pitches at 97 mph or above.
That sort of high velocity could be chalked up in some way to Lopez having a little extra energy behind already electric stuff during his White Sox debut. But Lopez, ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect and No. 59 overall by MLBPipeline.com, saw his performance a little differently.
"I don't think it was part of the excitement or the adrenaline," said Lopez through interpreter Billy Russo, after allowing two runs on four hits over six innings. "That was just part of my preparation and all the work that I did in my workout and in the gym, and that was the way that it showed up today. I mean, I wasn't over excited. I was calm."
Lopez's calmness translated into dominance of the Royals, striking out six and walking three, while being touched up by two Mike Moustakas' home runs before leaving with a no-decision. The right-hander allowed just two balls in play on his fastball, which topped out at 99.4 mph in the first inning, according to Statcast™.
Lopez induced 10 total swings and misses, with four each coming off his fastball and change, and two off of his curve. Lopez had 15 called strikes, with 10 off his fastball, and the only two "barrels" he allowed were Moustakas' long balls.
The Royals didn't get a hit until Moustakas connected with one out in the fourth. Five of those six strikeouts came in the first two innings.
"He's got good stuff," Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield said of Lopez. "Good changeup, good curveball. It's tough when you haven't seen a guy and he comes out throwing 98."
"This is the reward for all the work that I put in my career," Lopez said. "And I'm just glad to be here. I was ready for this outing."
To be honest, Lopez felt ready for the White Sox at the end of Spring Training. In a different scenario, Lopez might have broken camp with the team. Instead, he worked hard at Triple-A Charlotte and continued the development process, potentially arriving to stay on Friday night.
Another key cog in the rebuild made a triumphant debut. Lopez joined second baseman Yoan Moncada, left fielder Nicky Delmonico and left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer, who picked up his first victory with two scoreless innings in relief.
"[Lopez] was probably a little bit frustrated because of the spring that he had," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "He's a competitor who is a guy that wants to be in the Major Leagues and has the stuff to do that. All things considered, he handled it professionally. There were still things to work on, and he was able to accomplish those things."
"My key today was just my focus," said Lopez, referring to his 102-pitch effort. "I was focused all game, and I was able to command all my pitches. The changeup was very good, fastball. I commanded the strike zone in and out. I felt very, very comfortable with all my pitches."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.