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2022 Marlins Season Review: Pablo López

Was Pablo’s fifth season as a Marlin also his last?

Photo by Danis Sosa/Fish Stripes

2022 Timeline

  • Won NL Pitcher of the Month for April (0.39 ERA, 4 G, 23.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 23 SO, 0.73 WHIP)
  • September 8: Named Marlins nominee for Roberto Clemente Award

After his 2021 season was shortened by a shoulder injury, Pablo López came back in 2022 fully healthy and avoided the IL all year.

Before Sandy Alcantara emerged as MLB’s best pitcher, Pablo stole the headlines with an amazing beginning to his season. He briefly owned the lowest ERA in the league. He made 4 scoreless starts for the Marlins in his first 6 opportunities and put himself in the early All-Star conversation.

Best known for his changeup entering this season, Pablo used it more than ever while making other small changes to his pitch mix:

  • 2021—32.5% Changeup, 31.8% 4-Seam Fastball, 13.5% Cutter, 12.6% Sinker, 9.6% Curveball
  • 2022—38.3% 4-Seam Fastball, 35.3% Changeup, 10.6% Cutter, 8.3% Sinker, 7.4% Curveball
Baseball Savant

Pablo’s previous career high for innings pitched in a season was 111 13 (set in 2019); he surpassed that on July 26, in a start where he dominated the Reds with 11 strikeouts.

It was around this time that trade rumors about Pablo intensified. When a team like the Marlins is under .500 and has a talented player like him who’s in the middle of a career year, it’s no surprise that contenders would attempt to acquire him. Multiple reports named the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers as the teams who tried hardest to get Pablo leading up to the August 2 trade deadline. Miami eventually made the decision to keep Pablo and re-evaluate things after the season.

Pablo was not able to maintain his performance throughout the second half of the season. There were inconsistencies. The Mets offense scored 6 runs on 12 hits against him on July 31 and 8 runs on 10 hits on September 10 (both times at LoanDepot Park). Overall, he had a 4.97 ERA after the All-Star break, but enjoyed a great start in Milwaukee to end the season.

2023 Expectations

The main question about Pablo López entering the offseason is whether he will stay in Miami moving forward. It’s no secret that the Marlins participated in trade talks about him and now they’ll have the opportunity to negotiate with the other 29 teams. The front office may point to the prospect haul that the Seattle Mariners sent away in the Luis Castillo trade as fair compensation, or they could get creative and flip Pablo for an established hitter. There is some urgency to figure out his future with Pablo only two years away from free agency.

Whether it is with the Marlins or another team, Pablo will look to prove that his durable 2022 was not a fluke while also missing a few more bats. His strikeout rate decreased from 27.5% the previous season to 23.6%. If he can get that up again and continue to avoid the IL, Pablo has the ability to be an All-Star pitcher and even a Cy Young candidate.

In this exclusive interview, Pablo López described his 2022 season and looked toward 2023, including the rule changes being implemented by MLB.