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A Little Glimmer Of Hope For Jose Lopez

It's May 28th. Jose Lopez is batting .214/.241/.264. That's worse than a few teams' pitchers, and better only than Aramis Ramirez among qualified hitters in the league. Though Lopez's defense has been terrific, his offense has been unthinkably bad, and it's one of the bigger reasons why the Mariners are where they are in the standings.

When I looked at this a few weeks ago, when Lopez's struggles were still a little fresh, I concluded that Lopez wasn't doing a good enough job of pulling the ball down the line. Now, Jose Lopez has a lot of problems at the plate. His eye, for example, sucks a lot. But we're not looking to turn him into Mickey Mantle. We just want Jose Lopez to hit like Jose Lopez, and without pulling the ball, he didn't have a prayer.

So a natural follow-up would be: how has Lopez done since that post?

Well, he's hit .190 with two doubles. That's terrible. His numbers are actually worse since that post than they were before it was written. However, with my being an unflappable optimist and all, I think Lopez may actually be showing a little promise, with visual evidence after the break. I don't know who to credit for the idea behind this type of .gif, but I saw it on the internet.


What you're looking at are Lopez's spray charts for April and May of this year. And what I find encouraging is that, in May, Lopez has managed to pull more balls straight down the line. The results, rather obviously, haven't come, but at least the trajectory is right. Jose Lopez doesn't have a chance when he's hitting to center or the power alleys. His power is all to left field, and the balls are starting to find their way over there a little more often.

I don't want to say that Lopez is fixed, because that isn't true. He's still stuck on one home run, and for all I know I might be making far too much of a simple spray chart. Still, it's a promising spray chart. If some of those flies can now start leaping off of and over the fence, then Jose Lopez would no longer be a giant pile of crap.