Reynaldo Lopez is here to SAVE us!!

Picture is from MLBTradeRumors

Yes, THAT Reynaldo Lopez. He’s been terrific in 2022, which we’ll get to in a moment, but his unobvious path to his current position might be just enough to SAVE us White Sox fans!

The Dark Days of the Rebuild

Post Baderbrau tailgate…

I know it’s tough for yous to remember since we are knee deep in the drama of a failed year during the White Sox proverbial contention window, but the rebuild was a different time. It was a time when we had hope. We remember being excited that Reynaldo Lopez was going to be the first of the winter of 2016 trade pieces that made it up to the majors to play in front of us. I even blogged it right HERE.

This was back in 2017, Baderbrau was sponsoring the 108, the Goose Island (in the ballpark) didn’t even exist yet (as you can see by the picture above) and we were hyped to finally see some of the fruits of the rebuild reach Chicago.

The 1st 108 / SoxMachine collab, at Baderbrau, Chorizy convincing the crowd that James Shields will win AL Cy Young

Reylo’s first start for the White Sox against the Royals was a good one on August 11th of 2017 and we thought maybe it was a harbinger for a future of mid-rotationness. 2018 and 2019 followed with Reynaldo being the horse of these staffs logging 188 2/3 and 184 inning respectively. However, his effectiveness was fading. 2018 was a nice year with a 3.91 ERA accompanying those innings, unfortunately 2019 saw his strikeouts increase, but also his ERA climb up to a below league average 5.38 ERA.

2020….The Pandemic Year

This mutherfucker CHANGED THE WORLD!

Then in March of 2020, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING shutdown, including baseball. A White Sox year with so much potential promise was being put on hold by a worldwide pandemic. Once baseball even figured out how to get back on the field they bickered for months before deciding on a 60 game season what would get tee’d up in late July and ending at the close of September.

Our hero was slated to be the 3rd starter on this squad right behind the upstart Lucas Giolito (who finished 6th in Cy Young voting in 2019) and the newly acquired Dallas Keuchel whom I dubbed as the signing that ended the rebuild.

His start to 2020 was a disaster, after getting lit up and not escaping the 1st inning of his first start against the Twins, he went down with injury. His attempts at return were just as disastrous earning him a visit to the alternate site (a demotion in 2020 because there were no minor leagues). Lopez returned at the end of 2020 to pitch in a non-horrible fashion as a starter when the White Sox were desperate for innings and summarily left off the playoff roster. UGH!

Then 2021 Happened

IYKYK

Our hero wasn’t even in the White Sox plans. He didn’t make the roster out of spring training, and not only that he fucking sucked in AAA Charlotte to boot, but something strange happened in May. The team figured out he was BLIND AS A BAT and sent him to get eye surgery.

Fresh off of eye surgery Reynaldo made his way back to Chicago in the 2nd half of the year, filling a long-man bullpen role as an occasional spot starter and long reliever, even getting added to the playoff roster where he made his first appearance in the post season since 2016 when he was still with the Nationals.

The Super Bullpen Guy we didn’t expect

It’s a goddamn shame we never made a memorable image for the Super Bullpen, even if we blogged about it A LOT. That being said, Reynaldo Lopez was expected to make the team, mainly because he was out of minor league options, and was too cheap to really outright cut. Initially we thought he’d just be a long-reliever / 6th starter type and that’s how the season started, but as it went along, he kept on dominating until….he crept into the top 10 in fWAR out of qualified relievers for 2022.

There he is, showing out with some of the big scary monsters in the game when it comes to ERA, FIP, HR/9 and BB/9. Pretty spiffy for a guy who couldn’t see 18 months ago. By changing over to mostly Fastball / Slider, and ramping that heater up to an average of 97 MPH, he had become a true piece of the SUPER BULLPEN, but he didn’t require the patented Hahn free agent contract with that extra option year and all……

And that’s where he might be able to save us…

I don’t know if Hahn will be pulling the levers on this roster in 2023, but my assumption is that that is a pretty good bet. If so, maybe the emergence of Reynaldo Lopez, specifically in the fashion in which he emerged, will have the GM looking more for the bargain bin with regards to relievers and less to the vintage rack. If this team is going to tighten up it’s purse strings in 2023 going forward, at least let’s hope we can spend less $$$ on the bullpen and more time on reclamation projects. #KATZWILLFIXEM

And if the off-season does require radical changes to this bullpen, what better guy than Reynaldo Lopez to become the final boss. *wink, wink*

-BeefLoaf

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