White Sox: Three players to focus on in spring training

(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox Michael Kopech
Michael Kopech (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

1. Michael Kopech

This was probably the most obvious name to keep an eye on this spring training after missing the past season (Tommy John Surgery).

The right-hander remains one of the team’s most exciting prospects having not exceeded rookie eligibility in 2018 when he made his MLB debut.

So far, so good for Kopech as he appears to be throwing very well from videos we’ve seen early on in camp.

Kopech, 23, is going to have to earn himself a role in the 2020 rotation given that the team actually has a lot of depth entering the season.

Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Gio Gonzalez are virtual locks at this point, while Reynaldo Lopez is pretty likely to reclaim his spot in it.

Dylan Cease theoretically could be optioned to Triple-A, but he showed improvement in the month of September last season so there’s a good chance the team will keep him in the fifth spot this season.

That leaves Kopech likely starting the year in Triple-A himself, especially given he wasn’t too great in his cup of coffee in 2018 when he registered a 5.02 ERA, 6.16 FIP, and 1.535 WHIP over four starts for the South Side.

Nonetheless, Kopech’s ability to miss bats this spring will be a major storyline to watch as any pitcher capable of throwing over 100+ MPH is a storyline in itself.

Considering he’s coming back from a major surgery and he’s expected to have a long-term future in Chicago, Kopech is going to be worth watching every time he’s on the mound.