Born: March 24, 1990
Height: 5′ 10″
Weight: 160
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2007
How Acquired: Int. FA
Birthplace: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A


It’s always difficult to know what to make of small LHPs coming up from the Latin American leagues.  With amazing frequency, the Pirates will have a sub-6′ lefty who puts up playstation numbers in the DSL or VSL by throwing lots of offspeed pitches, but who lacks the stuff to go very far once he reaches the US leagues.  Call it “Nelson Pereira Syndrome.”  Compounding the problem, the team’s current management seems to believe in getting players to levels appropriate for the ages, so they generally will have players in their early twenties skip over the GCL, or stay there only briefly.  When a player gets promoted quickly to full-season ball, I often wonder whether that’s a sign that he’s a good prospect, but usually it turns out that the Pirates regard him more as an organizational player.

So here’s Porfirio Lopez, a 5’10” lefty who put up crazy numbers in the DSL in 2009, yet was sent back there the following year at age 20.  In 2011, however, the Pirates moved him all the way up to Bradenton.  Is he a real prospect?  I’m guessing not, but he isn’t a soft tosser.  In training camp he’s generally thrown around 90-92, but in games he seems to be only in the upper 80s.  He mixes in a lot of breaking balls with the fastball.  The Pirates have used him mainly to start or pitch long relief, so it’s possible he’d throw harder more consistently in short relief.

DSL:  0-1-0, 5.50 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 18 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 6.0 K/9 

Pitched only 18 innings in his first year and struggled

DSL:  2-1-1, 1.23 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 44 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 12.5 K/9 

Had spectacular numbers in 2009, including a .125 opponents BA.

DSL:  3-1-0, 1.53 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 59 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 6.7 K/9 

Lopez returned to the DSL and had merely mortal numbers.  His ERA was still outstanding and opponents hit only .178 against him, but his BB and K rates weren’t nearly as good.

A:  2-4-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 56 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 8.2 K/9
A+:  2-1-0, 5.16 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 4.4 BB/9, 7.1 K/9

Moved all the way up to Bradenton and pitched out of the bullpen early in the season.  He struggled there and the Pirates moved him down to West Virginia, which was still a big jump from the DSL.  He pitched in relief there for part of the summer, although he went on the disabled list briefly in July.  In August he moved into the rotation and pitched well, with a .210 opponents’ BA and a good K rate.  His overall numbers at West Virginia numbers were probably inflated by a couple of bad outings just before he went on the DL.

A:  2-3-0, 5.30 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 35.2 IP, 6.8 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
A+:  2-1-1, 2.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 28.1 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

Lopez started off the season in the Bradenton bullpen, but he was shuffled back and forth several times between the Marauders and West Virginia.  He got hurt at the beginning of June and was out until partway through July.  He joined the Power after he returned and struggled with them through the end of the season.  He pitched well during his time in Bradenton, although his K rate was low.  After he returned from the injury he had trouble throwing strikes.  He made two starts with the Power.

Lopez will open 2013 at age 23, which is getting a little old for class A.  He’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this off-season but won’t be selected.  He should be back at Bradenton.

Baseball Reference–Minors
2013: Minor League Contract
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2012
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
2007: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.