White Sox: Who Will Be The Next Ace on The South Side?
Kopech was part of the return the Sox got from Boston for Chris Sale last offseason. After a solid 2017 with Double-A Birmingham, Kopech was promoted to Triple-A to finish this past season. The 21-year-old had a good finish to his first year in the Sox organization, and is close to pitching in the major leagues in 2018.
The Sox top pitching prospect showed he could handle starting a full season as he dominated in Double-A through 2017. With the Barons, Kopech compiled an 8-7 record with a 2.87 ERA in 22 starts. In his final six starts for Birmingham, Kopech not only recorded a quality start in each outing, he also had double-digit strikeouts in three of those starts.
Kopech only made three starts for Charlotte after he was promoted, and didn’t last longer than five innings in any of those outings. The 2014 first round draft pick didn’t give up more than two earned runs in any of his three starts with the Knights, and recorded seven strikeouts in his final outing of the season for Charlotte.
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In order for Kopech to become the next ace of the Sox, he will need more time to develop in the minors along with pitching more innings. Kopech pitched a career-high 134.1 innings this past season. He could exceed that total next year, but once he’s in the major leagues, he will need to pitch 200 innings or more per season at the top of the rotation. Kopech has a lot of potential and it will be interesting to see when he’s promoted to the Sox in 2018. The Sox have been patient in promoting their top prospects, and Kopech won’t be making his major league debut until he proves he’s ready.