The guy is on a pace to steal 45-50 bases and hit around 20 homers. That's Barry Larkin territory in his best years. His defense has also improved. I remember the days when I would confuse Aaron Boone and Lopez (during the ill-fated Boone to second experiment) because both players basically wound up like Tom Seaver to deliver the ball to first base. He couldn't turn a double play because he was slow, and it really looked like it he would ole grounders and not get down on others trying to rush plays... because of the throws.
All that has changed. Lopez is a really, REALLY good player now. Grossly underrated. When I think of how this team is different than the ones that started strong in the last five years only to fade in the second half, I don't think it's pitching. I think it is the 1-2 punch of Freel and Lopez at the top of the order. They remind me a great deal of Pierre and Castillo at the top of the 2003 World Champion Marlins... only with a greater propensity for getting on base. Manning the most important defensive position on the field well, I would argue that Lopez might be the most valuable position player on this team moving forward. The new ownership would be well-advised to lock him into a long-term deal as soon as possible, because I think Lopez may be the type of player you build an offense around.