New Minnesota Twins starter Pablo Lopez will be the one taking the ball on Opening Day.
Experienced, yet still young at 27, Lopez was the centerpiece of the deal that sent AL batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins.
The right-hander will savor the moment when he takes the hill and pitches for his new team for the first time.
Pablo López will cherish the moment on #OpeningDay for the @Twins, then it's time to lock in 🔒#MNTwins | @pablojoselopez pic.twitter.com/WZ3c7kuvK1
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 28, 2023
He will face the Kansas City Royals on the road, so he won’t get to experience what it’s like to pitch in front of his new fans yet.
Much of the Twins’ playoff hopes for the 2023 campaign rest on Lopez’s right arm.
The organization needed some starting pitching, and used a valued offensive piece to get it.
Lopez has been in the majors for parts of five seasons now, and has a solid 3.94 career ERA.
He knows he can be even better than that, though.
He posted a 3.75 ERA in 180 frames last year in Miami, and had an even better 3.07 ERA in 2021.
Lopez, at his best, is very close to an ace.
His presence makes the Twins 2023 staff that much better.
They have the similarly talented Sonny Gray, the returning Kenta Maeda, Tyler Mahle, and Joe Ryan.
Bailey Ober is also part of the impressive depth they have managed to put together.
If Lopez pitches close to his talent level and stars like Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa stay healthy, it could be a very good year in Minnesota.
The franchise is hungry for some playoff success, and this might be their year if everything breaks right.NEXT: Minnesota Twins Executive Discusses Key Offseason Moves