FANTASTIC : Braves’ Newcomer Makes Atlanta History………

Each season, there’s a recurring narrative of teams taking calculated risks on former top prospects who’ve faced challenges in the majors, often at bargain rates, and reaping significant rewards. Examples like Kevin Gausman’s resurgence with the Giants or Nestor Cortes’ impact with the Yankees are emblematic of this trend. This year, the Atlanta Braves have emerged as the latest success story in this regard. Their signing of Reynaldo Lopez to a three-year, $30 million contract during the offseason appears to follow this pattern of astute investments paying dividends.

Reynaldo Lopez, once heralded as a top prospect in the Nationals’ system, was part of a significant trade to the Chicago White Sox in 2016, alongside pitchers Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning, in exchange for Adam Eaton. Despite limited opportunities in Washington, his potential was evident. However, his transition to the White Sox was challenging. Initially, he performed at a league-average level but struggled notably in 2019, recording one of the highest ERAs in baseball. Consequently, Chicago shifted him to the bullpen, where he found success as a dependable reliever, particularly in 2022 with a notable 2.76 ERA. Nevertheless, he became part of the White Sox’s overhaul in 2023, subsequently moving between the Angels and the Guardians.

During the offseason, Atlanta took a chance on Lopez, signing him to a lucrative three-year deal with the intention of utilizing him as a starting pitcher.

Reynaldo Lopez, at 30 years old, has surged to an exceptional start that arguably ranks among the best in baseball this season. Across four starts, he’s showcased remarkable dominance, tallying 25 innings pitched, 24 strikeouts, and conceding only two runs, resulting in an astonishingly low 0.72 ERA. His performance has also propelled him to tie for sixth in pitching WAR, as per Baseball Reference, boasting a rating of 1.4.

These impressive early-season statistics have already etched Lopez’s name in Braves history. David O’Brien of The Athletic reports ($) that Lopez is only the second pitcher in the Braves’ era to achieve the feat of allowing one or no runs over six or more innings in each of his first four starts. The first pitcher to do so was Aaron Harang. Moreover, Lopez joins a select group of seven pitchers since 2000 who have accomplished this, with the most recent being Mat Latos for the White Sox in 2016.

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