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2019 Marlins Season Preview: Pablo López

Health permitting, López is a true building block for Miami’s pitching staff.

MLB: New York Yankees at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Not too many people smile more than Marlins pitcher Pablo López. He is one of the brightest young faces in the organization, and that enthusiasm for the game is one reason why he has already emerged as a huge fan favorite entering his age-23 season.

How did he get here? Traded from Mariners to Marlins on Jul. 20, 2018

2018 MiLB Stats: 1.44 ERA. 3.38 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, 66 K in 62.1 IP

2018 MLB Stats: 4.14 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 1.26 WHIP, 46 K in 58.2 IP

2019 ZiPS Projection: 4.04 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, 95 K in 127.0 IP

Photo by @Marlins/Twitter

Pablo had a rocky, up-and-down 2018 campaign, going through his fair share of struggles which is to be expected from a young pitcher. His year also ended early, as he was placed on the disabled list in September with a right shoulder strain.

However, López did have plenty of promising moments that left fans and the Marlins front office alike excited for the future of the young Venezuelan.

Not only is López a promising young pitcher, but he prides himself on hitting as well. Don’t be fooled by the 3-for-16 (.188)—Don Mattingly thought highly enough of his approach to use the lefty bat off the bench as a pinch-hitter...twice! I would look forward to more good at-bats from him along with his continued improvement on the mound.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Pablo was a fast riser through the upper levels of the minors, forcing his way into the Marlins rotation plans with a 12-start stretch of dominance at Jacksonville and New Orleans to kick off last season. There will be growing pains as his young career continues to develop, but he has given no reason for us to doubt that he will eventually put it all together.

The 2019 season will be a big one for many people in the organization as the Marlins continue their pursuit toward sustainable success. Even if the losses pile up again in a tough NL East, Pablo López figures to be a bright spot.