Since May 9, you would be hard pressed to find a better pitcher in the Florida State League than the Manatees Jorge Lopez.
Despite a shaky start to the season, Lopez showed flashes of the dominance he would go on to display. In his first six starts prior to that May date, Lopez had a record above .500, but his ERA hovered over five.
However, starting with that night at Space Coast Stadium against the Daytona Cubs, Lopez has been among the FSL’s best.
Since that night, Lopez has the fifth-lowest earned run average (1.73) and WHIP (1.02) in the entire league. Lopez has also been impressive in how he has dominated opponents. The Puerto Rico native has induced a plethora of weak contact, as he has the third-best groundout-to-airout ratio (2.26) in the league during this span.
As well, Lopez has a 5-1 record in 58 innings over these last nine starts. What is even more impressive, the former second round pick has allowed just 42 hits in those outings compared to 38 strike outs.
Very few pitchers in the league have been on the same level as Lopez over the last few months. Teammate Tyler Wagner ranks third in the FSL in ERA (1.63) since May 9, but has thrown 8.1 fewer innings.
During this stretch, Lopez has also made some of the best starts of his professional career.
On May 27 against the St. Lucie Mets, Lopez worked into the ninth inning for the first time as a pro en route to what was his sixth win of the season. The righty was removed before he recorded an out in that final frame, but allowed just four hits over eight-plus innings and allowed just one measly unearned run.
Lopez followed that performance up with another dominant outing, this time against the Dunedin Blue Jays, on June 16. He shutout the first-half champions of the North Division over seven innings. Lopez allowed just five hits and struck out six.
His last masterful performance came on June 26 against tonight’s opponent, the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Lopez tied his career-high with an eight inning night and allowed just two runs on five hits. That day, Lopez also recorded his first career complete game, as the game was shortened to eight frames due to rain.
As a reward for all his success, Lopez will head to Minnesota next week to participate in the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game. The right-hander is the only Brewers farmhand to be selected to the showcase and is the first Manatee to receive the honor since fellow righty Tyler Thornburg was chosen in 2011.