Card: 2018 Bowman Draft #BD-54
Nicholas Lopez (born March 13, 1995 in Naperville, IL) is a professional baseball shortstop for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Kansas City Royals.
Lopez attended Naperville Central High School in Naperville, Illinois. In 2013, as a senior, he batted .398. After high school, he enrolled and played college baseball at Creighton University. In 2016, his junior season, he hit .306 with two home runs and 22 RBIs in 55 games. After the season, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the fifth round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.
Nicky made his professional debut with the Burlington Royals and spent the whole 2016 season there, posting a .281 batting average with six home runs, 29 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 62 games. Nicky began 2018 with Northwest Arkansas and was promoted to the Omaha Storm Chasers in June. In 130 total games between the two clubs, Lopez batted .308/.382/.417 with nine home runs and 53 RBIs. He began 2019 back with Omaha.
On May 14, 2019, his contract was selected and he was called up to the major leagues for the first time. He made his debut that night versus the Texas Rangers, collecting his first hit (with an RBI) and reaching base three times.
He hit his first big league homer for the Kansas City Royals against the Detroit Tigers on June 13, 2019, a month after his major league debut. Interestingly, the game was played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in anticipation of the 2019 College World Series, the first major league game ever to be played in Nebraska. He was quite familiar with he ballpark, as this is where Creighton University, from which he graduated, plays its home games, and he had in fact hit a homer there in his final at-bat for the college.
Overall with the 2020 Kansas City Royals, Nicky batted .201 with one home run and 13 RBIs in 56 games. He had the lowest slugging percentage of all qualified hitters in the AL, at .266. Lopez was nominated for the Gold Glove at second base, having erroneously been omitted from the initial list of finalists. He eventually lost out on the award to César Hernández of Cleveland.
During 2021 Spring Training, Lopez switched his number from 1 to 8 to allow Jarrod Dyson to wear number 1. Having hit .118 in 34 at-bats in Spring Training, Lopez was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, with Whit Merrifield expected to assume the starting second baseman role. However, an injury to shortstop Adalberto Mondesí in the final game of Spring Training forced him onto the injured list, and Lopez began the regular season as the Royals shortstop.
Lopez ended 2021 with 78 runs, 43 RBIs, 22 stolen bases and a .300 batting average, becoming the first regular Royals shortstop to bat .300 or better in a season. Defensively, he led all qualifying AL shortstops with a .987 fielding percentage.
Nick confirmed his Italian Heritage on Twitter in 2022 after the announcement that he would play for Team Italy in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (see image below).
Nicky is active on Twitter @nick3lopez
Nicky is part of the MLB Current Players Tour – Go To The Next Stop
Nicky is part of the Born in Chicago Tour – Next Stop
See Nicky’s baseball cards at TCDB
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