White Sox top pitching prospect had a great 2017 season in Double-A and Triple-A. Just how good was his first year in the organization?
While White Sox fans got their first glimpse of Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez this summer, there are more elite pitching prospects on the way. The first name to come to mind for most fans when thinking of the future is Michael Kopech, who throws a fastball that can touch triple digits. Many are impressed with his plus slider as well, which makes him among the top minor league arms in the game.
Since this will be an evaluation article using a combination of Magnum Start Value (MSV) and traditional statistics, there is something to keep in mind. Even though 2017 was a year for Kopech to build up his stamina, he still posted a 9-8 record with a 2.88 ERA. To illustrate this point better, he tossed 69.1 additional innings than at any point in his career (134.1 IP in 2017) while having arguably his best professional season to date.
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Kopech’s best month in terms of MSV was July, as he recorded a MMT of 8.5 with his MO-Dot split 50/50 between MMP and MPM. He was solid in August on top of that, considering he posted a MMT of six. However, this time 100 percent of his Magnum Starts were classified in the MMP territory.
Here is where things get a bit interesting regarding MSV, the quality start aspect of it. For a pitcher who had a Quality Start Total (QST) of eleven for the entire season, he only started 25 games which resulted in a solid 44 percent Yearly Quality Percentage (YQP) for Kopech.
On the flip side, since very few of those Quality Starts actually fell under the Magnum Start classification, Kopech’s Yearly Magnum Percentage (YMP) only registered at 20 percent for 2017. To give you a better understanding of this situation, only 45.5 percent of his Quality Starts were Magnum Starts, meaning more than double the time he pitched six innings and gave up just three earned runs or less, it was not a MS.
Moving back to more traditional statistics, you can see how Kopech was able rack up quality starts without having elite control. He allowed 0.48 walks per inning, however struck out 1.28 men each frame. That is a 2.65 to one ratio. When Kopech only gave up 0.69 hits an inning, it becomes clear to see that very few men were reaching base regardless.
Speaking of his averages, while Kopech’s MMA for the month of July was 1.7, it only dropped to 1.5 in August. Both would be in the average range, and since Kopech is a minor league pitcher, he is less developed meaning distance is not as common at that level. In other words, his score in this study would be harmed to some degree.
Overall, considering the fact Kopech was even solid for a couple of months when it comes to MSV is remarkable to say the least. I don’t care how good he is or who he is facing, Kopech is not a finished product meaning he won’t go as deep into games. In other words, Kopech will have less Quality and Magnum Starts, lowering his scores. When he becomes a finished product, we should have a mainstay in our rotation, Sox fans.