Alejo Lopez took to Twitter on Tuesday to settle an argument. Normally I'd advice to stay away from the social media site with such frustrations, but the Cincinnati Reds infielder got his point across. Lopez posted a video with the caption, "I have heard people say I can’t play SS, I disagree." After watching the video, I think Lopez is correct.
In the video, there are several defensive plays made Lopez while playing in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. Lopez played 35 games for Caneros de Los Mochis this winter with 23 starts at shortstop. Lopez got just one inning of work at shortstop under his belt during the 2021 minor league season.
Reds infielder Alejo Lopez proves that he can play SS.
While the competition for the starting shortstop job is likely between Kyle Farmer and Jose Barrero, it appears that Alejo Lopez is throwing his name in the hat as well. Lppez managed to log just 23 at-bats for the Cincinnati Reds during his rookie season, but still hit .261.
Lopez is not going to be confused for Barrero. The Mexico native stands just 5-foot-10 and while he did record six homers at Triple-A Louisville last season, Lopez is much more of a contact hitter. The former 27th-round pick dominated Double-A Chattanooga last season.
Alejo Lopez slashed .362/.437/.448 with a higher walk-rate (10.1%) than a strikeout-rate (9.2%). That production got the front office's attention and Lopez was then promoted to Triple-A Louisville where he continued to hit. The 26-year-old slashed .358/.436/.526. Again, Lopez posted a higher walk-rate (10.9%) than a strikeout-rate (6.4%).
That dominating performance at Triple-A, which included a 13-game hit streak, netted Alejo Lopez a promotion to the big leagues. While it was only brief, Lopez showed defensive versatility, and a knack for getting a hit; he got a hit in his first major league at-bat.
Once the MLB lockout is over, Lopez will looking to compete for a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster. It'll be a stretch, but I think Lopez's versatility gives him a leg up on the competition. Lopez can play second and third base as well as the outfield.
As for playing shortstop, I think we can table that discussion for now. That said, while it's unlikely we'll see Lopez start at shortstop, it's good to know that should one of Kyle Farmer or Jose Barrero go down with injury, the Cincinnati Reds have a serviceable backup in Alejo Lopez.