Next up in our Spring Training Watch series, is second basemen Jose Lopez. This series will be slowly winding down, as Spring Training starts up. What have you, the reader thought of this feature? Waste of time, good insight, or just help pass the time. Let me know in the comments.
Jose Lopez has has an up and down start to his career. After being called up to the Mariners in 2005 from AAA Tacoma, where he hit .319/.354/.505 with 5 HR and 31 RBI in 182 AB's, and would spend his next two and a half seasons. In 2004, he got his first sip of the Majors, getting 207 AB's, putting up a line of .232/.263/.367 with 5 HR and 22 RBI. In that same season, he put up a .295/.342/.505 line in 275 AB's. Right now it looks like he has solved the minors, but hasn't put all of the pieces together in the MLB. 2006 was his first full yeat in the Bigs. He got 603 AB's as the starting second basemen for the Mariners, putting up an amazing first half, earning him a spot on the American League All-Star team, but slowed down significantly in the second half, to finish with a .282/.319/.405 line with 10 HR and 79 RBI. His minor league abilities look like they have carried over. Lopez was also in the transition period going from a shortstop to secondbase, and had to work on his defence just as much, if not more than his hitting abilities. His 2007 season has to be considered a dissapointment. He got 524 AB;s, in only three less games than the year before, putting up a line of .252/.284/.355 with 11 HR and 62 RBI. The power numbers stayed, but the rest of his line took a huge hit. If he was playing Golf Glove caliber defence, than maybe we could take a pass on the .250 BA, but he played very poor defence. I'd say that the past Miguel Cairo signing may come as a releif, because he probably would've played just as well as Lopez did.
Now looking ahead to the future. Lopez is set to be the Mariners' starting 2B, but with Willie Bloomquist, and Miguel Cairo biting at his but. Don't expect the first half of 2006 out of Lopez, and solid defence, but we should try to be optomistic, as Lopez is a young player, with a long way to go.