The Arizona Diamondbacks stunned many in the baseball world when they spent $16 million dollars to sign free agent Cuban pitcher Yoan Lopez last offseason. The acquisition put them over their international allotment, preventing them from being active during the international signing period over the Summer. According to this great article by Nick Piecoro at azcentral, Lopez’s first professional season in the United States amounted to a lost Summer.
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The biggest news we heard about the 22-year old right-hander was that one of his pitches caused a facial fracture and a concussion to number one overall pick Dansby Swanson. However, Piecoro writes about two different injuries Lopez suffered as well as some misadventures off the field. A poor Spring Training meant it would be a stop at Double A Mobile for the youngster. While with the Bay Bears, he suffered a blister that sidelined him for a period of time during the first part of the season. In August, elbow discomfort shut down his season for good. But it was an off-the-field incident that had to have annoyed D-backs’ management.
On July 2nd, the day before Lopez was scheduled to pitch, he failed to board the team bus in Jackson, TN. It turns out that Lopez went AWOL without telling anyone what he was doing. The following day, a picture of him showed up on someone else’s Twitter account and he appears to be relaxing with an old friend. This picture was apparently taken in South Florida where Lopez was found days later. He also supposedly uploaded a picture to his Snapchat account wearing a Marlins hat and saying, “No mas D-Backs; ahora Miami Marlins.” After returning to Mobile at the end of July, Lopez allegedly had a new attitude and was better behaved in an attempt to win over jaded teammates.
Lopez finished his season making only ten appearances to the tune of a 4.69 ERA in 48 innings. He allowed 46 hits and 24 walks while striking out 32. With Instructional League play finished, Lopez will now head to the Arizona Fall League which begins play on October 13th. Here is hoping Lopez has his act straightened out and has no more lost seasons in the Arizona organization.