On Monday, all eyes were on the White Sox top pitching prospect and one of Baseball America’s highest rated pitching prospect in right-hander Michael Kopech. Kopech started against the Oakland A’s and lived up to the excitement that surrounded him leading up to his start.
In two innings, He struck out three batters, including A’s Slugger Matt Olsen who hit 24 home runs in just 59 games last season.
Kopech also allowed just two hits while holding the A’s scoreless for those two innings. What was most impressive about his debut was his velocity as the average speed for his fastball was in the upper 90s and he topped out at 101 MPH.
Here’s an example of Kopech’s breaking ball from Monday:
Michael Kopech's breaking ball pic.twitter.com/THZcPXLY8f
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) February 26, 2018
Allowing no walks was also key as most young pitchers struggle with control and command in spring training especially early on.
The White Sox young pitching prospect is the next favorite to be called up to the big leagues with many believing that the team will most likely call him up during the middle of the season. The team did leave the door open to the possibility of Kopech making the opening day roster if he performed at a high level in spring training, but the chances of him being with the team on Opening Day is still unlikely.
As for Monday’s game, the White Sox beat the A’s 7-6, but the biggest news of the game outside of Kopech’s performance was the injury to 2017 first round pick Jake Burger. He fell running to first trying to beat a grounder and was carted off the field with an injury to his left Achilles tendon.
The White Sox will provide an update on Tuesday on the extent of Burger’s injury.