The trade deadline is approaching fast and the New York Mets have moves to make. I recently wrote about under-the-radar position players the Mets could pursue, and there are a few under-the-radar arms here that could help them too.
Here are five under the radar pitchers the Mets could target before the trade deadline.
NY Mets under the radar trade target: Jorge Lopez
Jorge Lopez has been around for awhile now, but he’s never been as dominant as he is right now. Lopez has made 40 appearances for the Orioles and pitched 44.1 innings. He’s allowed just 26 hits, eight earned runs, 15 walks, and he’s struck out 53 batters. His ERA is 1.62, his FIP is 2.97, his WHIP is 0.93, and his ERA+ is a crazy 248.
Lopez is great at limiting hard contact. He is in the 92nd percentile in hard hit rate, 88th percentile in xBA, 84th percentile in xSLG, 83rd percentile in strikeout rate, 81st percentile in xwOBA and xERA, 79th percentile in barrel rate, and 78th percentile in average exit velo. Hitters just can’t square him up.
Lopez throws five pitches, but really relies on three. He throws his sinker about half the time, and it’s a hard one that averages just under 98 miles per hour. His main secondary pitches are his curveball and changeup.
So what’s led to his sudden dominance? Well, the velocity on all of his pitches is up over the last couple of years. His sinker averaged 93.5 mph in 2020, and it’s at 97.7 mph this year. He’s also getting more movement on his pitches, with his vertical and horizontal movement rising across the board. His sinker and curveball are both elite pitches with run values of -6.
Lopez is 29 and comes with two more years of control. While the Orioles have certainly outperformed any expectations, they have virtually no chance of making the playoffs in the loaded AL East, so they should sell some pieces that aren’t part of their future. It will probably take at least two years for all of their top prospects to come up, so Lopez would be a free agent by the time their window fully opens anyway.