2nd Base Prospect Spotlight- Otto Lopez
Otto Lopez, Second Baseman, 23 Toronto Blue Jays
On October 1st 1998, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a right handed 2nd Base super-stud was born. Otto Ariel Lopez was his given name but I like to call him the most slept on 2nd Base prospect. Nay, the most slept on overall prospect of the last few years! Maybe I am over-exaggerating since he came in at number 11 on the Dynasty Guru’s 2022 2nd Base prospect list. What I am not exaggerating is that Otto should very much be on everyone’s radar and will start climbing lists very shortly, even faster than he already has. The Toronto Blue Jays made Otto an All-American caliber talent when they signed him on July 4th, 2016, and ever since all the kid does is hit the ball all over the field.
In 2017 at the Rookie level, Otto’s stat line was as follows: .275 Average .361 On Base Percentage .360 Slugging, combined for a .721 OPS with 1 Home Run, 6 Doubles 3 Triples and 15 Runs Batted In over 178 at bats. Nice little warm-up of what was to come. In 2018 Otto had a short stint at the Rookie level but was quickly promoted to A (short-season) and you guessed it, he hit the ball all over the yard, to the tune of .308 AVG .389 OBP .466 SLG. The power and speed uptick led to 12 Doubles, 6 Triples and he stroked 3 Home Runs in 208 at bats. 2019, repeating the A level (full season this time) we saw much of the same from Otto, slashing .324/.371/.425 with 20 Doubles, 5 Triples, and 5 Home Runs.
This is where I really started to get interested. I fall in love with Double-A stats. I think this is where everyone can really start to compile all the numbers and start to form an opinion. We have a few years’ worth of stats against opponents of the same age, but the call to Double-A is against older competition and even some rehabbing, or former, Major Leaguers. Well ladies and gentlemen, Double-A held very little resistance against Mr. Otto Lopez, as his Average jumped to .331, with an OBP of .398 and a SLG of .457 in 278 at bats! Thanks to these numbers, a promotion to Triple-A occurred, where he still slashed .289/.347/.405.
I left out the stolen bases on purpose because I think this facet of his game is interesting. In 2019 he had 20 stolen bases but was caught 15 times, which is way too high for anyone, let alone a speed guy. But then in 2021 he had 22 stolen bases and was only caught 4 times against much better competition. Was he unlucky or not reading the pitcher very well? My best guess is he has figured out the art of stealing bags.
So to recap, we have a career minor league 2nd baseman who in 1284 At Bats has a slash line of .312/.375/.427 and an OPS of .802, with 70 Doubles, 18 Triples, 14 Home Runs, 157 RBIs, a low 15% K rate, and 63 total stolen bases. The power for Home Runs isn’t there yet but I would much rather see a high Average in young players, with the ability to grow into Home Runs, rather than the opposite. He is being tailored as a super utility player as well, with 469 innings at 2nd Base, 310 innings in the outfield, and 88 innings at Shortstop in 2021.
With Bo Bichette at Shortstop, I don’t think we see him there unless injuries occur. However, Cavan Biggio at 2nd may not be a huge roadblock. Add in the outfield experience and we could be seeing him play all over the field in as early as the second half of 2022. The Jays are stacked and if Otto can make his way to the top of the lineup, we could see a future All-Star leadoff hitter that is going to be earning runs right and left, while stealing an occasional bag and hitting that timely dinger. I love to see a player fly under the radar while producing at a high level. Otto (matic) ‘Pez machine has future batting champion written all over him and I’ll be watching closely to see if he can build upon his promising minor league career.