Atlanta Braves 2023 Season Review: Nicky Lopez

Nicky Lopez made a big impact in a short amount of time with the Atlanta Braves.
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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At the 2023 trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves were exploring ways to improve their squad in preparation for the playoffs. Since Brian Snitker was notorious for sticking with the same lineup every night, Atlanta needed some bench depth. They landed Nicky Lopez who did exactly what he was asked to do. 

When Lopez came to the Braves, he knew he would not be an everyday player. With his ability to play multiple infield positions, Nicky Lopez was available to give multiple players well-earned days of rest or ready to jump in in the event of an injury. 

He appeared in 25 games, produced well in that short time, and had one of the best debuts with a team you could imagine. The former Royal was 4-for-4 in game 1 of a doubleheader against the Mets where the Braves put up 21 runs. Lopez even pitched in the bottom of the 9th inning. You couldn't write a better script.

Lopez posted a .277 batting average with 1 home run and 12 runs batted in during his time with Atlanta. Over this stretch, he played shortstop, second base, third base, first base, and even pitched 2.1 innings during blowouts when the Braves needed an innings eater. 

In the world of complicated analytics, we can’t help but point out Nicky Lopez’ “Hard Hit %.” This statistic is the percentage of balls put in play at 95 miles per hour or more. While he was with the Braves, 34.5% of balls Lopez put in play were 95 mph or harder. To put into perspective how impressive this was, his next highest career percentage was in 2021 with the Kansas City Royals at 27%. 

Lopez quickly became a fan favorite and many were disappointed he was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in the Aaron Bummer trade. Currently, the Braves have David Fletcher in the organization who will likely serve as Atlanta’s super utility man. This has become a position the Braves like to keep but Fletcher may have big shoes to fill after seeing what Nicky Lopez did in his 25 games. 

The Braves could have brought him back for 2024 but decided to use him in a package deal for Aaron Bummer instead. Lopez will get the chance to play with the team he grew up watching in 2024 and we wish him all of the best.

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