Reds: Mike Moustakas’ 60-day absence is opportunity for Alejo Lopez

Mar 2, 2021; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Alejo Lopez warms up. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2021; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Alejo Lopez warms up. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds placed Mike Moustakas on the 60-day injured list. With Moose out until after the All-Star break, the team should call up infielder Alejo Lopez. The 25-year-old has dominated the minor leagues this season, and deserves a call-up to the bigs.

Mike Freeman is 4-for-23 (.174) and Scott Heineman is 2-for-23 (.087). Both are utility players who may have better numbers with more consistent at-bats, but we know what those two players are capable of. However, the team doesn’t yet know what they have in Alejo Lopez. So, why not find out?

Reds prospect Alejo Lopez has dominated the minor leagues.

Alejo Lopez matched a career-high with four hits in his game last night for the Louisville Bats. Lopez went 4-for-6 with four singles and three RBIs. This isn’t the first time that Lopez has starred for one of the Reds’ minor league affiliates this season, but just the latest in a dominant showing that should lead to bigger and better opportunities.

Lopez was a 27th round pick of Cincinnati in 2015. Lopez played in 25 games at Double-A Chattanooga earlier this season. The 5-foot-10 infielder hit .362/.437/.448 with nine doubles and 13 RBIs. He was then promoted to Triple-A Louisville where he continued his offensive onslaught to the tune of .403/.500/.629 in 17 games.

Are you kidding me? This young man has a 1.129 OPS at the Triple-A level and the Reds are running Mike Freeman and Scott Heineman. No offense to the journeymen, but why in the world is Lopez still sitting at Triple-A?

Granted, it’s a small sample size, only 167 at-bats. But, given how poorly the Cincinnati offense, outside of Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and the two rookies (Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson) are playing, I’m shocked that Reds’ skipper David Bell isn’t stumping for Lopez to get his call to The Show.

Alejo Lopez has played both second and third base defensively this season, and I doubt that Cincinnati would allow him to try his hand at shortstop. But without Alex Blandino on the active roster and Mike Moustakas now on the 60-day IL, it seems like a no-brainer to give Lopez a shot.

It’s not often that a 27th round pick makes his way to the major leagues, but it’s not often that a 27th round has put together the type of minor league campaign we’ve seen from Lopez in 2021. A combines .976 OPS should be enough to get a look.

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The Cincinnati Reds have a handful of players (Ashton Goudeau, Mark Payton, and Cionel Perez) whom the team could remove from the 40-man roster in order to make space for Alejo Lopez. However, I assume that with Blandino and Max Schrock soon to return from the IL, Lopez will have to wait a little longer. If he keeps producing, however, he may force Cincinnati’s hand.