Who is this man and what has he done with Reynaldo López? The 27-year old right-hander has revitalized his career with the Chicago White Sox.
In 13 games López has a 1.59 ERA in 34 innings pitched. He has only allowed six earned runs to go along with 26 strikeouts and a 0.74 WHIP. The highlight of his season to this point came on August 27th when he fired five perfect innings of relief against the Crosstown Rival Chicago Cubs. He was locked in from the start with seven of his 15 outs recorded being strikeouts.
López has been able to provide some versatility for Tony La Russa. As a reliever, he has been money to the tune of a 0.95 ERA. In four games as a starter he a 2.40 ERA with a win. His best start came against the Oakland A’s. He tossed five scoreless innings, stuck out four, walked two, and only allowed one hit. That hit came in the first inning but López worked around that by inducing an inning-ending double play. He earned his first victory as a starter since 2020 in an outing against the Tigers on September 12th.
It is a far cry from the pitcher that lost a starting job in Spring Training and amassed a 7.62 ERA in Triple-A Charlotte this season.
The White Sox López acquired in a package that sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals. He immediately became one of the top pitching prospects in the White Sox organization with the hopes of developing into a dominant starter. Lopez showed promise in 2018 when he had the lowest ERA amongst White Sox starters with a 3.91 mark. In 2019 things slowly began to unravel. Early in the season, he uncorked a 14 strikeout performance against the Detroit Tigers but for whatever reason, he has struggled with consistency. Lopez finished the season with a 5.38 ERA. In 2020 he was jettisoned to the team’s Alternate Training Site to start the season. When he was eventually called up his ERA imploded to 6.49.
So what is behind this complete 180?
In May, López underwent an eye procedure to improve his vision. This has played a huge role in his renewed confidence
“Sometimes I threw pitches with not a lot of conviction,” Lopez said, noting that he couldn’t always see the catcher’s signs, “and that was where the problem began. Once they performed surgery, I gained confidence in all my pitches because I was seeing the pitch that the catcher was calling.”
“I’m 200 percent confident, in myself and all my stuff.”
He required surgery on both his corneas on May 2nd to correct blurred vision
Lopez should be confident. With an electric fastball that reaches the upper 90s and a sharp slider/changeup combo to compliment it, he has all the tools to be a successful pitcher. Lack of control has plagued him in the past. Being able to see the batter and the signs clearly and confidently allows him to throw his pitches with more conviction.