The Baltimore Orioles truly had a few players who, in a perfect world, could be All-Stars.
Ryan Mountcastle, who had 11 doubles and seven home runs in June alone, Austin Hays with his cycle and seven outfield assists, or even Félix Bautista sporting that 1.77 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 35.2 innings pitched.
Among these breakout first halves is one that trumps all the rest. What Jorge López has done this season is beyond remarkable.
The once failed starter, who came to Baltimore via waivers, also struggled as a starter with the Orioles. Towards the end of the 2021 season, López began throwing out of the bullpen, and has it ever been beneficial.
Entering 2022, López was ready to showcase what he could do as a back end reliever, who could sling a high 90s sinker, along with a devastating slider. And now, he only ever had to see a lineup one time.
To start the season, López only allowed two runs in his first 10 appearances in April. Along that span, he struck out 14 batters over 11.1 innings and also notched four saves that month.
May was much of the same, as López allowed just four runs, while collecting two more saves. However, the best was yet to come.
López in June was a completely different animal. In that month, he allowed only one run off four total hits in 13.2 innings. He struck out 17 batters while only walking one for an entire month. Still up to this point, he hadn’t allowed a home run yet.
July saw the first struggles for the 29-year-old, as he blew two saves in row to start the month and followed those appearances with another home run in his third July game. However, in elite closer fashion, López has bounced back for three saves in three appearances during the Orioles’ eight-game win streak.
At the time he was voted into the All-Star game, López held an ERA of 1.74 with a WHIP under one at 0.97. He is tied for 11th in saves at 16 and has struck out a total of 47 batters to 15 walks in 41.1 innings.
Without a doubt, López deserved an All-Star nod. Not only has he been among the league’s best closers, he has had a hell of a journey to the point he is at now, while being one of the most likable players in baseball.
Congrats, Jorge! You deserve it!
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