He doesn’t speak much English, I don’t speak any Spanish, I couldn’t get video from the traditional behind the backstop location, so you can’t really see the break on his pitches, but… there’s not much video of Yoan Lopez out there, so maybe you’d like to see a little of this 21-year old Cuban pitcher the Diamondbacks signed this year.
Kind of looks like a scout’s wet dream to this untrained eye. Long levers, athletic, smooth delivery, and easy velocity are at least strong building blocks for a major league pitcher. And there was a lot of excitement as he threw, with coaches huddled around, often blocking good angles for pictures and video.
So when you wonder if he has a third pitch — Ben Badler highlighted his fastball and slider — or why he only struck out 28 in his final 49 Cuban innings, and how someone with these questions cost his team $16.5 million (he signed for $8.25 million and cost Arizona a 100% tax on that contract by going beyond their allotted pool space), then maybe just his physical attributes and easy delivery might help provide a reason for the enthusiasm.
Literally in-house prospector extraordinaire Kiley McDaniel wanted to add his thoughts, which are more valuable than mine:
Lopez is 6’3/180 and 21 years old, so it’s easy to compare him to domestic, draft-eligible starting pitchers, where he stacks up well. Lopez is projectable but some scouts think his frame is a little too narrow to fully fill out and think he’ll remain pretty skinny his whole career. That said, the arm speed is already good, sitting 92-95 mph, flashing an above average slider and average changeup, but the command and consistency aren’t quite there yet. In addition, Lopez’s workouts weren’t a full workload and his velo spiked around when he defected, so there’s some durability and consistency questions that should get answered in 2015 during his pro debut. There’s 3/4 starter upside and maybe even a little more if he can add the bulk some scouts are doubting he can add.
This has been your grainy spring training *video* update of the day.
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.