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Wilton López

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Wilton Aristides Sevilla López
also known as Wilton Sevilla and Aristides Sevilla

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 189 lb.

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[edit] Biographical information

Wilton López is a relief pitcher who made his debut for the Houston Astros in 2009. He has pitched for the Nicaraguan national team several times. He was the 11th Nicaraguan in the majors.

In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, López (then going by the name Wilton Sevilla) went 1-0 with a save and a 1.54 ERA, allowing only four hits in 11 2/3 IP.

Signed by scout Edgar Rodriguez, López began his professional career in 2004, appearing for four New York Yankees affiliates in A and Rookie ball, but only totaling 12 1/3 IP between his stops. He was then put on the restricted list by New York and spent two years pitching in his native Nicaragua.

During the 2005 Baseball World Cup, Wilton allowed one run in 4 1/3 IP and saved the 1-0 win over the Czech national team, relieving longtime Nicaraguan star Julio Raudez. In the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, he allowed 13 hits and 7 runs in 7 innings, but only two earned runs and struck out 7; he lost his lone decision for Nicaragua. In the 2006 Americas Olympic Qualifier, Lopez allowed five runs in 9 1/3 IP.

He signed with the San Diego Padres next and debuted in their system in 2007, playing for the Fort Wayne Wizards and Lake Elsinore Storm, going 1-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 22 games for the former and 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA in 22 games for the latter. He walked only 3 batters in 50 2/3 IP and was second among Midwest League relievers in fewest walks per 9 innings. In the California League playoffs, he went 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA. He was then added to the Padres' 40-man roster.

He played for the Storm, San Antonio Missions and Portland Beavers in 2008, going 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 30 games with the Storm, 0-2 with a 4.93 ERA in 27 games with the Missions, and 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in one game with the Beavers.

He was waived by San Diego after spring training 2009 and was claimed by the Houston Astros. Pitching for the Corpus Christi Hooks, he went 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA but walked only 13 in 110 1/3 IP. He was called up to the big team in late August, and in his debut on August 28th, he gave up a home run to the Diamondbacks' John Hester, who was making his own major league debut as a pinch-hitter. He gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 innings of relief in a 14-7 loss that day. He was 0-2, 8.38 in 8 appearances that first season, but much better things were ahead.

In 2010, Lopez established himself as one of the most reliable performers out of the Astros' bullpen, something which would continue for three seasons. He put up a 2.96 ERA in 68 games in his first full season as a major leaguer, then followed that with a 2.79 ERA in 71 innings in 2011 and a sparkling 2.17 ERA in 64 games in 2012. Those performances occured with the Astros stuck in the lower reaches of the NL Central, meaning that Wilton went largely under the radar, especially as he was a middle reliever the first two seasons, getting relatively few decisions. In 2012, however, he registered a 6-3 record and 10 saves and walked only 8 batters - against 54 strikeouts - in 66 1/3 innings. He was one of very few bright spots on a team that set a franchise record for losses. The Astros decided to cash in on Lopez's value after the season, trading him to the Colorado Rockies on December 4th in exchange for two young pitchers with plenty of potential, Alex White and Alex Gillingham.

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