Nicky Lopes continues to shine even after playoff hopes disappear for the Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals are 48-65 which puts them 18 games out of 1st place in the AL Central, and they are 15.5 games out of the wild card. At this point the Royals are playing for pride and one player is doing just that.
Nicky Lopez, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB draft, is having a season to remember during a Royals season that many would like to forget. Lopez was drafted out of Creighton University.
The 5-11, 180-pound middle infielder worked his way through the farm system and made his Major League debut with the Kansas City Royals on May 14th, 2019. In that game Lopez would go 1-4 at the plate with a RBI.
Fast forward to today, and Lopez is taking advantage of his opportunity.
In 2021, Nicky Lopez is having a solid year for the Kansas City Royals
For some the grind to get to the Major Leagues is tough, and taxing. Many players endure adversity along the way whether it is an injury or a cold streak. Not every player drafted is destined for the MLB.
In 2021, Lopez is slashing .279/.351/.354. One thing Lopez has done at a much higher rate than in years previous is increased his walks along with his stolen bases. He’s not going to hit monster home runs, but he will give you a good at-bat.
Along with his solid appearances at the plate, Lopez continues to demonstrate good glove skills. Plus, Lopez has shown to be incredibly versatile playing second base and shortstop with Adalberto Mondesi being on the IR for majority of the season.
According to Fangraphs, Lopez’ WAR (wins above replacement) is 2.4 In 2020 Nicky Lopez finished second in the running for a Rawlings Gold Glove award at second base.
Why Lopez is a staple for the future of the Kansas City Royals
I think what Lopez is doing is a pure reflection of how much passion he has for the game of baseball and he is not letting up on the opportunity he has been given at the Major League level. Some of the things we are seeing can not be displayed on a score card or placed in his forever stats.
Those characteristics, like hard work, determination, grit, and love for the game, have been on full display this season. What we are also seeing is a baseball player who is getting consistent playing time which allows for a routine, and this creates comfortability.
Also you can see the glowing smile from Lopez, which displays he is having fun, and when you break down baseball to its core, that is what this game is all about.
Whit Merrifield, a teammate of Lopez, endured the same experiences and has provided a leadership role for not only Lopez, but other players as well. Merrifield showed that anyone, when given an opportunity can take hold of the situation, and run with the opportunity.
With that being said, Lopez has earned a spot on this roster,and will be a key piece with the Royals youth movement. Minor league players such as Bobby Witt Jr, Nick Pratto, MJ Melendez, Nick Loftin, and Kyle Isbel are roaring on the scene and will pair well with players like Nicky Lopez.
Not to mention the numerous pitching prospects within the Royals organization pushing to get to the big leagues. Although the Royals are not making a playoff push we must appreciate the player Lopez has developed into.