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Chicago White Sox: Why the return of Michael Kopech is significant

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Starting pitcher Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the ball against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Starting pitcher Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the ball against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech had quite a setback in his major league debut. Now, Kopech is on track to make a return this year and show improvement.

In September of 2018, top prospect Michael Kopech underwent successful Tommy John surgery and is on track for a 2020 return. Kopech was drafted 33rd by the Boston Red Sox and was acquired with Yoan Moncada, in a trade which favored the Chicago White Sox future. Even though Kopech’s first couple starts on the South Side were disappointing, he has been showing tremendous progress in rehab and has his eyes set on the mound. The White Sox could use his talent in the starting lineup to strengthen the rotation which is why the return of Kopech is significant.

Per MLB Pipeline, Kopech is ranked in the top-five for right-handed pitchers. His rank amongst the fellow White Sox prospects is second and his rankings are not just hype. The talent he showcases is the reason why his pitches stand out from the rest. The scouting report on Kopech gives his fastball and slider the highest praise amongst his peers. His fastball is electric, especially the warmer he gets on the mound. Not only can it reach the mid to high 90s, but he has also been known to hit triple digits.

In 2018, the right-handed flame-thrower led the International League in strikeouts with 170 and totaled 172 strikeouts a year between his time in Double and Triple-A. A great skill of Kopech’s is his ability to rack up strikeouts. He can also pitch away from the zone so hitters are more likely to chase instead of getting on base. His minor league career ERA is a solid 3.05 and the best outings from him have yet to be seen.

The return of the 2018 Triple-A All-Star has been highly anticipated amongst fans because they know what he can do and crave to see him dominate in majors. As the Chicago White Sox improved their starting lineup this offseason, the arrival of Kopech will be significant for the team because that adds even more security in the rotation. When prospects of this magnitude face injuries there is a concern of losing what made them special.

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Luckily, that has not been the case for Kopech. There have been reports on how great he’s pitching and still hitting triple digits post-surgery. In 2020, The Chicago White Sox have the arrival of another top prospect in Luis Robert. The year is already looking so bright for White Sox fans and having another high caliber pitcher on the mound will entice fans even more. The return of Kopech is just another reason why the Chicago White Sox will be a tough ballclub to beat this upcoming season.

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