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Jacob Lopez Scouting Report, College of the Canyons — January, 2018

Full Name: Jacob Lopez
Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
School: Saugus HS
Year: Sophomore
Height, Weight: 6’4”, 210 lbs.
Position: LHP
Bats/Throws: L/L
Dates Observed: 2018 — January 26
Affiliate(s): College of the Canyons (CCCAA; Western State Conference, East Division)
Previous Coverage: None

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Four-Seam Fastball (40/55)
Plenty of life on four-seamer, with arm-side run and some depth, particularly when located down. Occasional late, hard boring action to arm-side; heavy and tough to square up, particularly for LHH. Advanced feel for command side to side and down in the zone; pitch will get away from him arm-side at times, but consistent ability to get it out to glove-side and hit spots when needed. As with the rest of his stuff, got stronger as the game went on; has some ability to reach back and dial it up for velo that sneaks up on hitters; tough to track, particularly for LHH, with deceptive mechanics and good pitch execution. Free and easy velocity out of the hand, and easy to imagine small velo bump coming in the next few years on sturdy, strong frame. Velocity: 85-90.

Two-Seam Fastball (35/50)
Very similar to four-seam fastball, but with slightly more consistent arm-side run and sink, and slightly less working velocity. Ample life on pitch considering release point, arm angle, and mechanics; as command continues to improve, he’ll improve nuances of execution with the two-seamer, particularly in on LHH and backdoor on RHH. Will induce consistent ground ball contact when commanded in bottom third. Velocity: 83-87.

Curveball (35/50)
Pitch improved considerably as game wore on; started as a slower loopy curve that lacked consistent bite and hovered through break, but consistently morphed into better, deeper pitch with more consistent side-to-side command. Big velocity differential works very well for him here; will get hitters cheating out on front foot and shows enough feel in low-70s velo band to dot it side-to-side. Pitch still needs significant improvements to play professionally, and it must be more consistent in 11-to-5 break without horizontal sweep that comes when he gets around it, but there’s some potential here; reminds me quite a bit of San Diego Padres lefty Jerry Keel’s big, slow curveball. Velocity: 68-72.

Slider (35/45)
As with curve, well below-average pitch at the start of the outing that got significantly better as afternoon wore on. 10-to-4 break with big, sweeping action across the plate; sometimes lacks ideal downward plane and depth to miss bats, but considerable life side to side that should make it very tough for LHH to square up as is. Must throw the pitch significantly harder, though; some differentiation from curveball on account of break path, but will soon be tough to justify two breaking balls in near-identical velocity bands against better hitters in the future. Would love to see him play with a low-80s cutter and see if he can’t turn the slider into a sharper, shorter pitch with more concentrated break and, maybe, a bit more depth. Velocity: 73-76.

Command (40/45)
Advanced command for age/level, particularly considering so many moving parts through his delivery (more below); consistent feel to both sides of the plate with deep arsenal and tons of movement. Saw him on a particularly good day, of course, so some need to temper command expectations, but clear ability to repeat mechanics consistently in order to get his arm out on time and hit spots. Will consistently throw strikes with all pitches in any count; further aided by working quickly and pushing pace. When he does miss spots, enough natural pitch life to get away with some mistakes. Admittedly need to see him again later in the year, and there are some legitimate concerns about his command profile considering his radical cross-body mechanics and low three-quarters gun slinger release point through a complicated delivery. Long term, may be destined for the bullpen because of it.

Deceptive cross-body thrower with lots of moving parts in his delivery, though remarkable consistency in repeating mechanics and finding consistent release point considering complicated motion. Works from first base side of rubber to accentuate life against LHH. Turns back to hitter at balance point and through drive to plate; hides the ball extremely well from LHH, though RHH will pick him up early and hit him harder. Significant cross-body thrower who lands extremely closed off to the plate; drops back shoulder through drive and winds up with low three-quarters/nearly sidearm gun slinger release from left side. Arm angle and release point effectively takes away all of his natural downed plane from height, but he’s able to manipulate the ball enough from low release point to still show downward movement with his arsenal. Some modest recoil after release, with typical follow-through landing fairly hard to third base as he over-corrects closed-off landing point. Repeats delivery remarkably well, particularly considering his complicated mechanics and bigger frame, suggesting good underlying athleticism; must prove his mechanics and release can be consistent like this in longer period of time, though; plenty of moving parts with ample opportunity to get out of rhythm.

Big, strong kid with powerful lower half and physically imposing build. Doesn’t use his height and frame as much as maybe you’d expect for a guy his size, but still ample downward life in his stuff that can be further manipulated and refined in time. Likely at or near final physical form; physical conditioning looks adequate, but unlikely to add significant muscle or radically transform body short of perhaps tightening up a small amount as he ages. To his credit, stamina appeared to significantly strengthen as his January 26 outing wore on; ended the game significantly stronger than where he started it, suggesting good conditioning and arm strength. Seems destined for a professional bullpen role with a real shot at a high-leverage left-handed situational relief gig one day, but strong track record thus far as a starter at College of the Canyons, and no reason not to keep starting him until a move becomes necessary in a few years. Again, Jerry Keel may be a good comp here in several ways.

MLB Draft
With the caveat that I’d need to see him again later this season, Jacob Lopez is a guy I’d recommend for the MLB Draft this June if I were working on behalf of an organization. Plenty of projection in his arsenal, mechanics, and raw stuff to think there’s considerable bullpen value down the road and, really, he’s physical enough to start games in the low minors and develop with plenty of innings before seeing whether a transition is necessary. Real chance to have two or three average to above-average pitches in the next few years as he further refines command and corrals considerable pitch life. Want to see him one more time in April, but whether now or after a four-year stop (assuming good health, etc.) there’s no reason Lopez shouldn’t be an MLB Draft candidate at some point.

OFP (45 FV)
Easy to imagine Jacob Lopez continuing into pro ball as a rotation arm after seeing as dominant a start as he had on January 26, but long term play here is situational left-handed relief with a real shot for high-leverage gig as a lefty in the big leagues at ceiling. Natural deception with delivery and arm angle will make him a relatively easy candidate to transition to the bullpen; furthermore, adrenaline that came out late in close game here suggests Lopez is a guy who feeds off energy and may work well in high-pressure roles in close games; unlikely to shy away from a big moment. Legitimate MLB Draft option this summer or next one, and chance to move fairly quickly as lefty specialist reliever with minimal mechanical/arm action changes in transition to likely bullpen work. MLB ETA: 2022.

Jacob Lopez Scouting Report, College of the Canyons — Game Video

In addition to our Jacob Lopez scouting report, we have game video below. You can get more College of the Canyons prospect videos and other MLB Draft content when you click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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