Report: Angels Have Interest in Yoan Lopez


Citing a report from Jesse Sanchez of, the Angels are among four teams with some level of interest in 21-year-old Cuban pitcher, Yoan Lopez. The Angels have already exceeded their allotted international spending pool for 2014 from when they signed Lopez’s countryman, Roberto Baldoquin. The Halos are facing the steepest punishment from Major League Baseball after giving Baldoquin an $8 million dollar deal, and according to this is the main reason pundits have linked Lopez to the Angels recently.

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Like many Cuban baseball players who have defected, Yoan Lopez, is a mystery to fans in North America. According to Sanchez, Lopez has “a cut-fastball, a change, a curve and a slider, but is best known for a fastball that hovers in the 93-to-95 MPH range.” Reports surfaced that the young right-hander has been clocked hitting triple digits on three separate occasions while working out for teams. Lopez certainly has the body to be a workhorse in the big leagues. At just 21-years of age, Lopez stands tall at 6’4, and tips the scales weighing 190 lbs.

Lopez spent three seasons pitching for Isla de la Juventud in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, which according to Sanchez is “the island’s top league.” Lopez’s numbers in Cuba were pretty impressive for such a young man. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Lopez posted an ERA of 3.12, tallied 28 strikeouts, and issued 11 walks over 49 innings of work in his last professional season.

Yoan Lopez is under 23-years-old and has not played five seasons of professional ball in Cuba. Thus, Lopez is subject to international signing guidelines. Lopez established residency in Haiti, and has been declared a free agent by MLB. But according to Sanchez, Major League clubs will still have to wait for him to “be cleared by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury before he can sign with a team.”

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Other than that, not much is known about the young Cuban hurler. It has been widely reported that the Angels are seeking rotation help this offseason. Lopez may provide them with that down the road, but it is unlikely he will make much of an impact during the 2015 season in Anaheim. Jesse Sanchez also outlined the penalties for exceeding the international budget pools, and it would likely be in the Halos best interest to over spend this offseason, as they may be quite limited spending wise over the next few seasons.

The Angels are interested in acquiring young, controllable arms, and Yoan Lopez seems to fit that description. The other teams interested in Lopez’s services appear to be the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. You can bet the Angels’ front office, led by general manager, Jerry Dipoto, will be doing their due diligence on Lopez. The Angels would be taking a chance by paying big bucks to such an unknown commodity, but in my opinion, at just 21-years-old the long term rewards could heavily outweigh the risks.