There was plenty to like about Reynaldo Lopez’s first start for the Chicago White Sox.
Taking the mound against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field after being called up from Class AAA Charlotte, Lopez ran his touted fastball up to 100 mph, and the 23-year-old right-hander had all 6 of his strikeouts before the third inning was over.
“Like we talked about last night, he has wipeout type stuff,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said Saturday. “He can strike out a lot of guys.”
That’s a fact.
Before joining the White Sox from Class AAA Charlotte, Lopez was third in the International League in strikeouts, and the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder struck out 42 in 44 innings with the Washington Nationals last season.
One thing to keep an eye on?
Lopez was overpowering in his start against the Royals, but he lasted just 6 innings after throwing 102 pitches.
Like Chris Sale from 2011-15 and like Carlos Rodon from earlier this season, Lopez’s heavy reliance on the strikeout is going to lead to early exits.
“Can you induce more contact? I’m sure you can,” Renteria said. “But you don’t want to take away the ability for the guy to do what he does naturally.”
Lopez threw 20 pitches 97 mph or faster Friday night, and one hit 100.
He is naturally able to blow fastballs past hitters — no matter the level — but look for the prospect to focus on hitting more bats once his secondary pitches gain polish.
Lopez gave up 2 runs against Kansas City. The first was a Mike Moustakas home run on a hanging curveball. The second was a Moustakas homer on a changeup that stayed up in the zone.
“I told him that was a terrific outing, we can build off that,” said Kevan Smith, who caught Lopez. “Now let’s get in the film room and learn from it and see what our mistakes were and just get better and keep building off it.”
Lopez has the talent and…