The Miami Marlins might be watching the playoffs from home, but their 2021 season wasn’t all bad.

Several youngsters emerged as rising stars for Miami this year, and Pablo Lopez was one of them.

The righty put together the best season of his MLB career in 2021, and truthfully, he looks like he has the potential to evolve into an ace down the road.

Here are a few key things to know about him.

Looking At Lopez’s 2021 Season In A Nutshell

Lopez’s 2021 season was his fourth at the MLB level.

He made 20 starts, and the results were fantastic.

He pitched to a 3.07 ERA, 3.29 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP.

The 25-year-old also fanned 115 batters in 102.2 innings, giving him a nine-inning strikeout rate of 10.1.

Plus, he did this:

Impressive stuff.

He allowed three runs or fewer in 17 of his 20 starts, and Miami went 11-9 on days that he pitched.

For a team that finished well below .500, that’s a pretty solid record.

Lopez’s season actually hit a snag at one point due to an injury.

He suffered a rotator cuff strain in July and had to hit the 60-day injured list.

Fortunately, he was able to battle back and make one more start before the season ended.

That was a good way for the young star to finish off his exciting season.

Exceeding Expectations

After Lopez’s first two seasons at the MLB level, a lot of folks were skeptical.

He pitched to a 4.14 ERA in 2018 and 5.09 ERA in 2019.

To state the obvious, that’s a rocky way to break into the big leagues.

But Miami didn’t give up on him, and the club started to see some results in 2020.

Lopez posted a solid 3.61 ERA during the COVID-shortened year, then he obviously followed it up with his stellar showing in 2021.

A lot of people were ready to write Lopez off after his first two years, but those people are eating their words today.

Miami’s Rotation Features Several Exciting Arms

When it comes to pitching, the Marlins have many reasons to be optimistic about the future.

In addition to Lopez, the team has three other young starters that are on great trajectories.

Sandy Alcantara is 26, and he just had the best season of his career so far.

He registered a 3.19 ERA and 3.42 FIP over 33 starts.

Trevor Rogers is 23 and just had a fantastic rookie campaign, pitching to a 2.64 ERA and 2.55 FIP across 25 outings.

He also earned an All-Star selection.

Plus, Zach Thompson deserves to have his name mentioned.

He’s 27, but the 2021 season was his first year at the MLB level.

He managed a 3.24 ERA and 3.69 FIP over 26 total appearances and 14 starts.

The bottom line is that the future is bright.

Marlins fans have a lot to be excited about.

Wrap-Up

Miami got a taste of the playoffs in 2020, and that sort of experience is invaluable.

Now that the team missed the postseason in 2021, motivation levels are going to be very high amongst Marlins players to get back to the playoffs in 2022.

Things are trending in the right direction for the organization, and in due time, everything will come together.

This article first appeared on The Cold Wire and was syndicated with permission.

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