The Toronto Blue Jays may have a family feud on their hands on the Opening Day of the Minor League season, with Christian and Tim Lopes set to open the 2017 season as members of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats infield
On August 6th, 2016 the Toronto Blue Jays traded switch pitcher Pat Venditte to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later. That PTBNL was named on September 30th, 2016 Seattle sent Toronto minor league infielder Tim Lopes. What makes this interesting is that Tim Lopes is the younger brother of Blue Jays prospect Christian Lopes.
Christian Lopes, drafted as a 19-yr-old in the 7th round of the 2011 Draft, moving quickly through the Rookie ball. Christian started full season A-Ball as a 20-yr-old, moving up to Advanced-A the following year in 2014 and repeated the level in 2015 with more success.
Tim Lopes, drafted as an 18-yr-old in the 6th round of the 2012 Draft by Seattle, also received a challenging assignment in his early years. In Tim’s first season he played 53 games in Rookie Ball, ending the year with 4 games at Advanced-A ball as an 18-yr-old. In 2013 the 19-yr-old played 92 games at Lo-A and batted .272 with 15 doubles, 3 triples.
Like his brother, Tim Lopes struggled during his first real shot at Advanced-A ball, batting only .238 with 16 doubles, 7 triples, and 4 HR in 114 games. After repeating Advanced-A ball in 2015, Tim, like his brother, found success and batted .276 with 27 doubles, 4 triples and 2 HR.
This bring us to 2016. Both brothers at Double-A (Christian Lopes played 15 games in Dunedin to start the year) were primed for a break out year…..and that’s exactly what happened. Christian Lopes cemented himself as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats starting 2nd baseman with a .295 batting average, 30 doubles, 2 triples and 3 HR. Tim Lopes cemented himself as the Jackson Generals 2nd baseman with a .284 batting average, 23 doubles, 5 triples, and a HR.
The Lopes brothers are both listed as 2nd baseman on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats roster. Neither Christian or Tim have much experience out side of 2nd base, as they have played a combined 889 at the keystone position. This makes a position change unlikely. Neither brother possess the arm strength to play shortstop, nor do they have the power required for a move to the hot corner.
So what do you with two everyday 2nd baseman? The Blue Jays could promote one to Triple-A Buffalo, but which brother?
Looking at their career stats doesn’t really separate them.
Tim Lopes Career Stats
|All Levels (5 Seasons)||517||2219||281||539||92||32||8||211||96||41||176||341||.274||.338||.365||.703|
Christian Lopes Career Stats
|Minors (5 seasons)||521||2095||250||486||114||13||20||226||25||11||182||325||.261||.332||.368||.700|
The brothers each possess excellent baseball IQ and neither strike out too much. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to develop that one skill that would set them apart from other minor league prospects. The younger Tim has more speed than his older brother, this has allowed him to collect more triples and stolen bases over his career. However, Christian has produced a bit more power than his younger brother which has resulted in more doubles and home runs. That seems to be were the dissimilarities end, as we need just look at their similar OPS to see how evenly matched the Lopes’ actually are.
With Christian entering his age 24 season and Tim turning 23 in June, they will have eachother to lean on and feed off as they continue to work towards a common goal of becoming major league infielders. Both Lopes brothers don’t currently project as everyday players at the major league level; however they both have youth on their side.
*Featured Image Credit: Jeff Archer- UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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