ESPN: Yoan Lopez a potential call-up for D-backs in 2018

May 26, 2018, 6:00 AM | Updated: 6:58 pm

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have been on a bad skid.

They’ve lost their last 14 of 16 games, including a seven-game losing streak at one point, and have fallen out of first place in the NL West.

One of the reasons for their recent struggles could be related to their middle reliever position.

In three of his last four games, reliever Archie Bradley has not been his normal self. In 4.0 innings, he’s given up five earned runs, including three home runs. After accumulating 13 holds and two saves to start the season, Bradley has gone 1-1 with two blown saves over the last five games.

As of April 25, the D-backs bullpen had a 1.89 ERA, which led MLB. Fast forward to May 26, and the ERA has ballooned to 2.52.

Taking into account the D-backs’ recent struggles, ESPN compiled a list of the most likely call-up option for each MLB team, with Arizona bringing up pitching prospect Yoan Lopez from the Double-A Jackson Generals.

Lopez’s tenure had been little more than infamous until 2017, when his fastball velocity ticked up 5 mph. Once a prospect albatross teams had a hard time scouting due to inconsistent playing time, Lopez is now throwing 95-99 mph complemented with a plus slider. He’s got bat-missing stuff, and the big club is working through a rash of pitcher injuries, so he’ll likely be up at some point.

In 17.1 innings pitched, Lopez has a 3.63 ERA with 13 hits and seven earned runs. He’s converted most of his save opportunities too, posting three out of four saves.

It’s been an interesting road for Lopez, who signed an $8 million deal with the club in 2015.

At the time, Lopez was considered “one of the more intriguing young arms in Cuba,” according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, but Lopez struggled. With the Double-A Mobile Bay Bears, he posted an ERA of over four in 2015 and 2016.

That all changed in 2017 when Lopez went 2-0 with a 0.85 ERA in 20 games.

There’s no telling when the team would call-up Lopez, but if the bullpen can’t return to its April form, it could be a matter of time.

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ESPN: Yoan Lopez a potential call-up for D-backs in 2018