DARIEL LOPEZ, SHORTSTOP
|Born: February 27, 2002
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2018, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Lopez got one of the bigger bonuses in the Pirates’ 2018-19 international signing period. He had Tommy John surgery after he signed, but was healthy by the time the DSL season started. Scouts like his swing a great deal and he has power potential, often to right-center. It’s unclear what his position will be ultimately.
Lopez played mostly short in his debut season, although he saw a little time at first and third. He had problems with errors, committing 18 at short. He did well at the plate, with strong gap power and passable plate discipline.
Following the lost 2020 season and the elimination of the short season leagues, the Pirates jumped a number of their prospects from the DSL to Bradenton, including Lopez. This was a major reason why the Marauders’ hitters weighted average age was easily the league’s youngest. Lopez handled the jump about the best of any of the players making it, putting up an above-league-average OPS while playing the full season at age 19. He struck out a lot by past standards, but in 2021 his K rate was lower than the league average. He had a huge platoon split, with an OPS of 1.037 against LHPs and .662 against RHPs. He also had an OPS 160 points higher at home than on the road. In the field, Lopez mostly played short and third, with a little time at second. As the season went along, his starts shifted somewhat from short to third. At every position he played, he was extremely error-prone, more than can be accounted for by inexperience or by the higher error rates in the low minors.
Lopez spent the season at Greensboro, playing a little over half the time at third, with the rest divided between second and short. At the plate, he made some strides, especially with power. After a miserable start in April, with a .470 OPS, he hit well consistently. The strikeouts, by today’s standards, weren’t bad, but his walk rate was. Another caveat was the home/road split. Lopez’ power tends to run toward right-center, which is a spot that produces a lot of home runs at the Greensboro ballpark. And, sure enough, Lopez hit 15 home runs and slugged .571 at home, four and .378 on the road. He also had a large, reverse platoon split. Defense remains a significant issue. Lopez had an .877 fielding percentage at third, which isn’t going to fly in the majors.
Lopez has a good ceiling as a hitter. He’s Rule 5 eligible, but his plate discipline issues would make him a stretch for selection.
|2023: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $400,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2025
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2022
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 2, 2018: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.