Kopech Ceiling an Ace, floor a reliever?

brett05

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Over on the Cubs board a horrible prospect link came out listing Kopech as the 40th best prospect and indicating he is most likely a reliever/closer in the bigs.

So instead of hijacking a Cubs thread, I am opening this up here. Reports are he has an elite fastball and slider and an above average change up.
His numbers compare better than two guys that eventually made it to the Hall at this point in their careers (Ryan and Johnson).

I am thinking his floor is probably a #3/4 starter which would be a guy that averages 9+ k a game and walks probably aright around 4-4.5 guys per nine. Odds of that? I think very, very slim. What do others think?
 

brett05

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I tend to agree with Beck on this kid. I love that he brings everything he has, every game. He's got mad stuff but he throws a lot of pitches, so many that he's only a 5/6 inning guy. Plus they are very stressful pitches as he throws 100+ speed. I just don't believe his arm will hold up to that kind stress every 5 days over a 162 game season. He could become an elite closer and have a lot longer career.
Longer career but significantly less money. The greatest closer ever still would have loved to have been a starter as his career started out.
 

CSF77

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I kind of agree with Beck where you need 3 major league quality pitches to start. But I’ll go even further.

Kopech guns the top 90’s and with that you can get away with good control of your fast ball because the velocity increases the challenge of hitting it. Hovering 96 honestly that is typical velocith so he needs late movement of command of location.

Talking about secondary pitches slider vs right and change vs left is pretty typical now. Cutter is just a fastball with a slider grip. Splits are not used anymore and forkballs the same. Kinda miss those pitches.

But all said and done I have a hard time calling a 2 pitch pitcher (or less) with shaky control(less than command) a starter. There are plenty of guys that lite up 98+ stuck in pens. If anything that is far more common.
 

brett05

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I kind of agree with Beck where you need 3 major league quality pitches to start. But I’ll go even further.

Kopech guns the top 90’s and with that you can get away with good control of your fast ball because the velocity increases the challenge of hitting it. Hovering 96 honestly that is typical velocith so he needs late movement of command of location.

Talking about secondary pitches slider vs right and change vs left is pretty typical now. Cutter is just a fastball with a slider grip. Splits are not used anymore and forkballs the same. Kinda miss those pitches.

But all said and done I have a hard time calling a 2 pitch pitcher (or less) with shaky control(less than command) a starter. There are plenty of guys that lite up 98+ stuck in pens. If anything that is far more common.
The issue is a few. He has two elite pitches and a third which is classified as an above average changeup. Guys that throw heat can't do it for the long haul which is a big reason some guys become relief pitchers instead of starters.

When you look at two comparables at the same age, Ryan and Randy, Michael is better at the same point in careers. Like I said, no one thinks of Kopech as a reliever. Only as a starter. Doesn't mean it will work out either.
 

Diehardfan

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The issue is a few. He has two elite pitches and a third which is classified as an above average changeup. Guys that throw heat can't do it for the long haul which is a big reason some guys become relief pitchers instead of starters.

When you look at two comparables at the same age, Ryan and Randy, Michael is better at the same point in careers. Like I said, no one thinks of Kopech as a reliever. Only as a starter. Doesn't mean it will work out either.
That's more than likely is in his hands....if he can get better command and get his pitch count down, if he is a freak of nature like Ryan was, can he avoid arm trouble....what he does will ultimately decide what his job will be. Regardless....closer or starter....he will be a very rich man at some point.
 

beckdawg

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I am thinking his floor is probably a #3/4 starter which would be a guy that averages 9+ k a game and walks probably aright around 4-4.5 guys per nine.
How many qualified starters last year had a walk rate over 4? 0. How many qualified starters in 2016? 5 and 2 of those were vets who'd proven themselves better prior(Shields/Liriano), 1 was Jimmy Nelson who just had a down year and the other two were Brandon Finnegan who's probably going to the bullpen soon or later and the last guy is Tom Koehler who's basically a guy Miami had to use as they had no other options for their #5. In 2015 there was 1 guy in Trevor Bauer who had the worst walk rate of his career. If you want to be hyped about Koepch fine. But the "floor" you're putting on him isn't a #3/4 starter. It's not even a starter save for a few rare cases. Your aim instead should be basically a right handed Robbie Ray(10.69 k/9 3.79 bb/9) if you think he's a starter. But it's a pretty big assumption to just assume he's going to drop his 4.8 bb/9 in the minors to 3.8.

As for his stuff, not sure where you're getting that he has an above average change up(currently anyways) from. Everything I've read on him suggests his change up is inconsistent. As I said else where, it's entirely plausible that he develops it enough that it becomes consistent but he doesn't currently possess 3 average or above pitches and you're not a starter with 2 great pitches.

Frankly I don't really care one way or another what his top end is. The only reason I took issue with your comment is it's completely ignorant to suggest he had 0 chance of being a closer. If you want to say there's a 75% chance he's a starter fine but suggesting it's guaranteed is just being a homer. Hell, even if he had none of the issues I mentioned above, guys who throw 100 don't stay healthy. And again, if you want to believe he's the exception to the rule that's fine. But at least acknowledge the possibility injuries could limit him to a bullpen role.

And as I said before, I really don't even see why you're scoffing at the idea. Elite closers are incredibly valuable. The cubs gave up Gleyber Torres for 3 months of Chapman. They gave up multiple years of Soler for a year of Wade Davis. Obviously you give him ever opportunity you can to be a #1 or #2 starter but if the issues don't iron out and he's a worse Drew Pomeranz(8.79 k/9 3.77 bb/9), I'd honestly rather have someone who could be Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel or Chapman closing out games.

Ultimately I'll leave this topic where I started, with Carl Edwards. Edwards in the minors had 11.5 k/9 and 4.3 bb/9. Kopech's at 11.8 k/9 and 4.8 bb/9. If you want to say Kopech has better stuff I'll concede the point but ultimately that's not why Edwards ended up in the bullpen. He ended up in the bullpen because of the walk rate and the fact his change up wasn't great. If you're unwilling to see that possibility with Kopech you're being willfully blind and there's not much worth discussing.
 

brett05

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Beck,

Of course injuries can happen. No reason to mention that possibility.

The above average change up is from scouting reports from MLB.com

Again, no one has said anything of Kopech being anything but a starter unlike another White Sox Prospect in Cease and Fulmer.
That's the point that you keep missing.
 

CSF77

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Beck,

Of course injuries can happen. No reason to mention that possibility.

The above average change up is from scouting reports from MLB.com

Again, no one has said anything of Kopech being anything but a starter unlike another White Sox Prospect in Cease and Fulmer.
That's the point that you keep missing.
I’m pretty sure that the Sox will make him a starter just because they are not in a contending window and will give him opertunity to develop.

Where is he ATM anyways? AAA? I get that they are holding him back due to starting his service clock. So does that mean Sept?
 

brett05

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He's in AAA. Best guess is Sept 1, but I wouldn't be shocked for them to wait til May 1 2019.
I gotta feeling if they promote Jimenez and Kopech, attendance doubles which means about 25,000 a game to finish the season off.
I'd not be surprised at all if he got the Chris Sale treatment when he first arrives, though I think it's very unlikely considering he's been conditioned exclusively as a starting pitcher.
 

DanTown

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There is no way a guy walking five per 9 in AAA is anywhere close to a starter in the majors. While someone will say that's what Randy Johnson did, Kopech isn't Randy Johnson and more importantly, these hitters aren't late 80s hitters who never really dealt with velocity or arm angles like Johnson had.

Maybe he finds something and it clicks for him but he's not there right now and it would be slightly concerning to me as a Sox fan to see the regression in his stuff to the point that he's walking more guys as he theoretically should be getting better at pitching. Until he starts to show that he's a pitcher and not just a thrower, I can't say he's there. But the thing about throwers becoming pitchers is that it just happens. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen in September in a callup start, it could happen next spring, it could happen next season, it could happen never.

Kerry Wood, a top five prospect at the time, was walking nearly seven guys per 9 at the age of 20 in 1997 in AA/AAA. Then at 21 he was a legit SP in the majors who was a good SP until injuries made him a reliever.
 

brett05

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Whose to say his walks will come down, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson were walking a lot more than that in the minors than Kopech. They turned out fine.

I do agree that at some point pitchers do become just that, pitchers instead of throwers.
Last 6 starts 32 innings, .619 ops, 4.5 BB/9, 13.8 SO/9 His walks could be from coaches wanting to see something, also could be part personal with his in season break up. But his last 6 starts is mlb starting stuff.
 

brett05

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Last 4 starts now is 24 IP, .600 OPS, 1.5 BB/9, 12 K/9 He's looking like he's got reasonable enough control. He may not come up thanks to team control, but he's ready.
 

dennehy

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Yeah, no reason for Kopech not to be in the rotation to start next year, barring something really changing between now and then. He's gotten blown up in three starts this year, but otherwise has been very good - gave up just 29 runs in those 18 starts (20 in his three bad ones). He and Eloy will be exciting to watch.

Cease has also really figured it out this year. Of course he's a year away, but his numbers look great.

I wonder if the Sox really take a real run in free agency this year or if they wait one more year.
 

brett05

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Yeah, no reason for Kopech not to be in the rotation to start next year, barring something really changing between now and then. He's gotten blown up in three starts this year, but otherwise has been very good - gave up just 29 runs in those 18 starts (20 in his three bad ones). He and Eloy will be exciting to watch.

Cease has also really figured it out this year. Of course he's a year away, but his numbers look great.

I wonder if the Sox really take a real run in free agency this year or if they wait one more year.
I'd make a run for Machado. I'd offer him SS, but hope he would take 3b and solve an issue for us there. I love me Yolmer, he'd be my fifth Infielder.
 

brett05

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Last 6 starts for Kopech:

38 IP, 32 H, 4 BB, 50 K, 1.89 ERA, 575 OPS.

He's ready. Hopefully just a matter of time before he's the #1 pitcher on the staff in the bigs.
 

brett05

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Last 7 starts for Kopech

44 IP, 39 H, 4 BB, 59 K, 1.84 era

Not a walk in August so far.

He's making the trade of Sale better with each start. The pain is going away.
 

brett05

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Try and catch E:60 if you can. They had a very nice opening piece on Kopech, his comparison to Nolan Ryan and his own opinion of who he is, which I loved the confidence of him.
 

brett05

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Today may be Rusev Day, but Tuesday is Kopech Day!...

In the words of Bray Wyatt.

ChiCitySports....He's Here!
 

zack54attack

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Here we go.


I'm pretty excited about this. Thinking about going Tuesday night to see him.
 

brett05

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Here we go.


I'm pretty excited about this. Thinking about going Tuesday night to see him.
As am I. I'll get my schedule for Pizza delivery tonight and if I am not working tomorrow, I am thinking of just driving South at the end of my day job and catching the game.

I'd say this is the most excitement for a pitcher's debut for a Chicago team since Mark Prior
 
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