The next piece of the White Sox rebuild is arriving in Chicago this week.
The club announced their top pitching prospect, Michael Kopech, will make his Major League Baseball debut at home on Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins.
Taken in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Boston Red Sox, Kopech was one of the key pieces in a trade with Chicago that sent the hard-throwing righty to the South Side along with Yoan Moncada, Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz for All-Star pitcher Chris Sale in 2016. The 22-year-old is currently ranked the 13th-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, which has noted comparisons to Mets star Noah Syndergaard.
Promotion a long time coming
With a lot of focus being place on service time for young players, many fans in Chicago weren’t sure if the Sox would actually allow the hurler a chance to see the bigs this season. That’s despite a 3.70 ERA with Triple-A Charlotte, to go along with 170 strikeouts, 60 walks and 1.27 WHIP in 126.1 innings pitched.
Kopech did go through some control issues during the middle of his time in the minors this season, but that seems to have largely been corrected over recent weeks. With a fastball that has been known to sit 96-99 mph, there’s plenty of excitement to see what he can do against the game’s best hitters.
Ever since it became clear the White Sox weren’t going to compete this season — sometime around May, that is — the focus on the South Side quickly turned to when fans would get a chance to see some of the team’s famed-prospects get called up. But the Sox have been quick to silence any talk of guys getting fast-tracked to the majors, preaching patience and development at lower levels. That’s led to plenty of frustration and second-guessing, as guys like Kopech and No. 3 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez have been ripping up the minor leagues.
Now the question of when Sox fans would get to see some of their prized players step in at Guaranteed Rate Field has a definitive answer.
Kopech news kickstarts rally
Never known for making quiet maneuvers, the White Sox announced the promotion of Kopech on their scoreboard in the midst of a 6-0 beatdown by the Royals on Sunday. The news changed the feel of things at the park in a hurry.
The White Sox managed to draw some applause amid a game they’re losing 6-0 to the Royals pic.twitter.com/KAJnjbwYET
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) August 19, 2018
— Phil Rosenthal (@phil_rosenthal) August 19, 2018
The Sox capitalized on the buzz with home runs from Avi Garcia, Tim Anderson and Omar Narvaez to tie the game in the fourth inning before taking a 7-6 lead in the fifth that held up for a Chicago victory.
If nothing else, it’s got to make Kopech feel good about the type of run support he’ll get on Tuesday. He’ll certainly already have the backing of fans in town.
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