The big moves of Christian Lopes
September, 28, 2010
By Ben Fawkes | ESPN Insider
Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMIChristian Lopes has seen his power dip after changing schools.Lack of talent has never been an issue for Edison H.S. (Huntington Beach, Calif.) shortstop Christian Lopes, a five-star Baseball America prospect.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior began racking up the accolades as early as 12 years old, when he was named the U-13 Player of the Year in 2006 by National Youth Baseball. Since then, the success has never stopped. Lopes hit .408 with 10 home runs en route to winning team MVP honors as a freshman at Valencia HS (Santa Clarita, Calif.). His sophomore year, Lopes was named All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year and Foothill League MVP after dominating the league with a .453 batting average, 15 HRs and 33 RBIs.
Lopes' junior year, his family moved to Huntington Beach, forcing Lopes transfer to Edison. As he describes it, "My mom got a job in Irvine, my dad's always wanted to live by the beach and we heard the school had good academics. Baseball was just icing on the cake."
The move wasn't smooth early on. It may have been the transition to a new high school or the elevated level of competition at Edison, but something caused Lopes' numbers to suffer his junior year. Most noticeable was a lack of power, as he hit .380 but had just 2 HRs and 17 RBIs.
The reason for Lopes' drop off? His coach, Steve Lambright, said he believes it was simply a matter of pressure.
"The biggest factor is that he put too much pressure on himself to perform," Lambright said. "He didn't hit as well as advertised. I don't think he faced the type of pitchers up there (Valencia) that he did here. It was a new environment, he felt like he had to carry to the whole team and he pressed."
"I'm not going to lie, when I first made the ball club I was shy and hoped I grew on them. It wasn't easy but it wasn't the hardest thing in the world," Lopes said. "All the guys on the Edison baseball team were class acts. Every single one of those kids helped me out."