The Chicago Cubs released pitcher Robinson Lopez on Wednesday in a somewhat surprising move, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. The Cubs acquired Lopez in the 2010 deal that sent Derrek Lee to Atlanta, and at the time he was viewed as a solid young prospect.
Lopez still doesn't turn 21 until March, but Jim Callis of Baseball America noted that his "fastball and slider really went backward last year." When he was acquired from Atlanta, he was mostly viewed as an intriguing live arm that would need substantial time to develop, but it appears that his progress is going in the wrong direction.
Mostly a starter in 2009 and 2010, Lopez made 26 appearances in 2011 but just four of them were starts. In 69 innings with Single-A Peoria, he posted a 5.35 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 30 walks. The lack of strikeouts definitely reflects a decline in quality of raw stuff.
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