After bringing the 40-man roster to a round number of forty, LHP Javier Lopez was brought back to the San Francisco Giants, given a raise in years and dollars to 3 years and $13MM. The past two years may have seen Lopez not surpass forty innings pitch in either season, but that hasn’t kept his games appeared numbers down even if we widen the spectrum to the last four years. If ERA is more your thing, I know you loved that Javy and the defense kept things under 2 for the first time in his career. However, what you should really care about is how he fared against lefties the most, since that’s what we know that’s the monster that Javier Lopez really is. You want to know about the stats Javy can control the most against LHH, and since he’s mostly facing lefties, as evidenced by only 26 of his 69 outings in 2013 consisting of Lopez going against more than two batters, you want to focus on that (but not his ERA against lefties). So, among pitchers that had more than 20 IP vs. LHH:
- .197 wOBA against, 8th-best in MLB (Francisco Liriano was 2nd at .151)
- .208 OBP against, 7th-best in MLB (Madison Bumgarner was 5th at .201)
- 1.53 FIP, 6th-best in MLB (Clayton Kershaw was T-3rd at 1.24)
That sort of Top-10 MLB talent on your roster is very welcome, and I don’t expect Bruce Bochy‘s usage of Lopez to be much different in 2014-2016 unless Javy transforms into some sort of two-headed monster that can also dominate RHH. This past season, I’m not sure you could qualify he really was any of that, even in a small sample size of 63 RHH faced. Within the 18 Giants pitchers that threw at least 10.0 IP, this is where he ranked within the same categories listed above:
- .321 wOBA against, 11th on team
- .361 OBP against, 12th on team
- 4.20 FIP, 10th on team
Those kinds of numbers bring out the words, “No thanks,” if asked about letting Night Train go against RHH for a long period of time in a close game. Bruce Bochy’s a smart in-game guy, though. We’d know by now if he didn’t know how to use Lopez, and we know he knows how to use the 36 year old Puerto Rican-American.
Here’s my collection of Javier Lopez GIFs. I know, I know, I really need to grow that collection. So many epic Javy moments.
Assuming the money is split evenly across three years, this brings the Giants to around $118.4MM on my spreadsheet. I do not mind this contract, even for a lefty specialist. The Giants do a pretty good job of printing money, but not to Dodger/Yankee levels, so I’m not worried that their pursuit of a high risk/high reward-type #5 SP or a LF platoon partner for Gregor Blanco has been derailed by all these signings.