Storm Chaser Lopez under a cycle watch
Nicky Lopez probably doesn't welcome his annual slow start to the season. But the 24-year-old's ability to get equally hot at the plate certainly makes it easier to bear.Kansas City's No. 8 prospect amassed three hits for the third straight game while falling a homer shy of completing the second
Kansas City's No. 8 prospect amassed three hits for the third straight game while falling a homer shy of completing the second cycle of his career as Triple-A Omaha defeated Oklahoma City, 8-5, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Lopez -- who went yard twice during Tuesday's loss to the Dodgers -- began the year hitless in 14 at-bats, but has since gone 15-for-30 (.500) during a seven-game hitting streak.
"I don't really know why this happens to me," he said. "It's sort of part of my track record to get off to bad starts, but it's something I definitely don't want to continue. It makes it a little harder on me and gives me some sleepless nights, but it's baseball and that's what happens sometimes."
The native of Naperville, Illinois, helped ignite a first-inning rally with a single to center field before slashing an RBI double to left in the third. Lopez led off the fifth with his first triple of the season to right and scored on
"I knew [going into my fourth at-bat] that I needed the homer," he said. "But I didn't change my approach. I was thinking about the homer and trying to get a good pitch to hit, but those last two pitchers I faced had some good stuff. But yeah, I definitely knew the situation."
Gameday box score
The Creighton product hit for the cycle last June 21 with Double-A Northwest Arkansas as part of a career-high five-hit night against Tulsa. His offensive surge pushed his slash line up to .341/.408/.591 through 11 games.
"I felt good coming out of Spring Training and I wanted to keep that going," he said. "The balls just weren't falling even though I hit a few hard. That's where a good support system comes up big. My family, friends and roommate
A fifth-round Draft pick of the Royals in 2016, Lopez has batted .279 or better in all three of his three Minor League seasons heading into this year. He hit a professional-best .308/.382/.417 with 75 runs scored, 53 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 130 games between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha in 2018. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp this spring and made the most of his opportunities, batting .333 with a double and three RBIs in 45 Cactus League at-bats.
"Coming back to Omaha after spending my college years here and having success was big for me," Lopez explained. "Knowing that you're so close to the Majors and one call away is a huge confidence boost. It fuels my hunger and allows me to believe I deserve to be here. Being so close [to the Majors] can be a distraction. It's what I've been dreaming about since I was a kid, but I try and stay in the moment as much as I can."
Dini doubled twice, drove in a run and tied his career high with three hits while
Dodgers No. 29 prospect
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.