Once considered one of the Blue Jays better infield prospects, Christian Lopes has seen his development stall over the past two years. Here’s a look at his high’s and low’s of 2015.
The former 2011 7th round pick started 2015 a member of the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League, and would spend the rest of the season bouncing between New Hampshire of the Eastern League and Dunedin.
Lopes struggled during his short stints with the Fisher Cats but really excelled with the D-Jays. With NH, Lopes hit .200 in May, .172 in July, .174 in August, and .000 in 3 September games. In Dunedin, Christian hit .254 in April, .417 in 3 May games, .310 in June, .281 in July, and .318 in August.
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Despite his struggles in Double-A, the former 2012 Bluefield Blue Jays MVP continued to show excellent plate awareness with 0.65 BB/K in the FSL and 0.79 in the EL. He maintained his 10BB%, while lowering his 15.5K% to 13.0K% in Double-A. This advanced plate awareness and ability to get on-base (.368 OBP) allowed Dunedin manager Omar Malave to utilized Christian in the 2-hole, where he scored 21 of his 39 runs.
The native of Huntington Beach, California, did an excellent job of hitting the ball up the middle with 75 hits to CF, but his heat map and hit spray chart shows that Lopes has a tendency to pull the ball when grounding out and spraying the ball to RF when flying out.
Mandatory Credit: MLBfarm.com
Both of Christian Lopes two home runs, a career low, came during his time in Dunedin where he generated .089 ISO and slugged .382. Although both his HR where hit to LF, Lopes sprayed hits around the outfield; however, the same can’t be said about his infield hits. Christian’s infield hits where all to the pull side of the infield.
Christian Lopes 2015 stats
Lopes failed to build on a career high 26 doubles in 2014, hitting only 16 and failed to triple for the first time in his career.
Mandatory Credit: MLBfarm.com
The Valencia High School Alumni finished with .358 and .218 wOBA and 132 and 32 wRC+ in Dunedin and New Hampshire respectively. Lopes just couldn’t make solid contact with the Fisher Cats, with many of his Double-A outs being of the Flyout/Groundout variety.
Christian had 24 multi-hit games, 3 coming in New Hampshire, and five 3-hit games. Lopes’ best game came on June 14th against Lakeland Flying Tigers when he went 3-for-5 with a runs, 2 doubles, and 2-RBI.
Bad lucky may have played a part in Lopes’ splits, with .347 BABIP in Dunedin and only .174 in NH. Comfort level may have played an even bigger part, as he demonstrated huge home and away splits. Lopes hit .179 in 51 road games, while mashing .330 in 53 homes games. He hit .267 against RHP and .245 against LHP.
In the field he continues to show off a strong, accurate arm and good reactions. In 96 games at 2nd base Lopes committed a mere 6 errors in 472 chances with 73 double plays which was good for .987 Fld% and 4.85 RangeFactor. This was a nice improvement over the 14 and 15 errors he committed in ’13 and ’14.
In his year-22 season, Lopes was 1.4 years (FSL) and 3.1 (EL) years younger than his competition. He fared better against younger pitchers hitting .309 versus .241 against older pitchers. Lopes has the talent and the make-up to regain his prospect status in 2016, despite an up-and-down 2015.