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Community Projection Results: Jose Lopez

...moving right along...

536 (524)
2B: 26 (17)
3B: 3 (2)
HR: 14 (11)
HBP: 5 (5)
BB: 28 (20)
K: 68 (64)
SB: 5 (2)
CS: 3 (3)
GB%: 47 (46)

BA: .277 (.252)
OBP: .319 (.286)
SLG: .416 (.355)
IsoPa: .042 (.034)
IsoPo: .139 (.103)

I was going to open with a remark about how the Mariner blogosphere still has a good bit of faith in Lopez's ability, but then I looked at last year's community projection (.285/.330/.435) and decided that the ~4% drop in forecasted OPS suggests that a significant number of people are beginning to lose patience.

And who can blame them? Lopez's 2007 was one of the worst seasons we've seen from an everyday player in years and years. He took zero steps forward and countless steps back, all at an age when you're supposed to be putting things together. It wasn't enough that his numbers were awful; he plum looked awful, too, right down to the all-wrist swing and occasional defensive lapses. If you knew nothing about Lopez's history and watched him a few times in September, you'd probably come away wondering how that man could possibly have a job.

And yet, we know the talent's in there somewhere. We've seen it. Lopez will never be mistaken for someone with a discerning eye, but we've seen him hit the ball hard into the gap and harder over the fence. We know there's more to him than he showed in 2006, and a *lot* more to him than he showed in 2007. And the community is cautiously optimistic that he'll recover some of that ability and have a good season. A .735 OPS for a 24 year old right-handed second baseman in Safeco is nothing to sneeze at, and would significantly help Lopez get his career back on track.

It's that natural talent that drives us crazy. It'd be one thing if Lopez were Ecksteining the crap out of his skillset, but the fact that he's capable of so much more is what makes him such a letdown. It's hard not to blame Lopez himself for not turning his ability into something more by now. God knows he's had enough time. I know it's fun to be angry at the organization for trying to get him to go the other way more often, but that isn't a valid reason for why he bails out on so many at bats. That's Lopez's own fault. He badly needs to improve his selectivity and swing with a little more confidence. Do that and he should be able to meet the community's projection. If he doesn't, he won't come close.

I'll say this: while I can't be sure about which path Lopez will take, his future in Seattle will depend on his taking some substantial strides forward. We know the front office and coaching staff are dissatisfied. The onus is on Lopez to come out of the gate playing well, impress McLaren from the two-slot, and avoid another summer collapse. Another year like the last two will probably be his last as a Mariner. Lopez needs to get going, because before long it will be too late.

Of all the non-Felix community projections, I think this is the one I want to come true the most.