Lopez could be on the fast track to the big leagues. While the Nats see him as a starter long term, he could be a perfect fit in the bullpen later this season.
"I think the important thing is first to make it to the big leagues and trying to establish yourself," Lopez said through an interpreter Sunday. "Whether that be as a starter or as a reliever, that's up to them to determine, but it's important to just get there and do well for yourself."
"He has done everything we have asked him to do developmentally," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He has come a long way over the past year. We recently promoted him to Triple-A, and he has performed well there. We see him as a guy with power stuff that could help us sooner rather than later."
According to assistant general manager Doug Harris, Lopez is successful on the mound because he puts himself in a position to repeat his delivery, which has allowed him to stay in the strike zone more consistently. He is throwing his breaking ball for strikes and he has done a better job throwing his changeup. Lopez has a fastball that is clocked in the upper 90s.
"It's a credit to our international scouting department," Rizzo said. "Our player-development guys have done a great job with him. It's a great organizational success story. He's just scratching the surface. We are looking forward to seeing him impact us here in the big leagues."
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.