Chicago White Sox: Michael Kopech progressing well

(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
Chicago White Sox Michael Kopech
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox are excited to welcome back Michael Kopech this season and he’s progressed well this spring training.

Michael Kopech is looking to make a big return to the Chicago White Sox in 2020, but he is going to be returning to a much-improved rotation.

The right-hander will have to battle for a spot behind Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Gio Gonzalez, which would require him beating out one of Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease for the last spot in the rotation.

On the bright side, Kopech and the organization appear to be very excited about how the 23-year-old has progressed so far as detailed by Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"“Honestly, he’s looking far more advanced than most people might think,” manager Rick Renteria said about Kopech. “His command is a lot better. He’s commanding his pitches — changeup, breaking ball, fastball. His misses are minimal. The ball is coming out of his hand loose and hot. He looks really good.”"

That’s an extremely good sign for the 17th best prospect in the game (MLB Pipeline) as control is often a major issue for pitchers coming back from Tommy John Surgery.

In the minor leagues, it proved to be somewhat of a problem for him as he had walk rates higher than 4.0 BB/9 in four of his five seasons in the minor leagues including 4.3 BB/9 in 2018.

When he made it to the majors, he actually lowered it to a superb 1.3 BB/9 over four starts, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing as he was getting hit hard.

In that span, Kopech had a 5.02 ERA, 1.535 WHIP, and 6.16 FIP while registered 9.4 K/9 and 2.5 HR/9.

Kopech took the mound against White Sox hitters, as Van Schouwen explained, and the Texas-native appears to be aware of what he needs to work on still.

"“I’m getting close,” Kopech said. “Breaking balls are something I need to fine-tune a little. I need to be a little bit quicker with them, kind of casting them right now. With that being said, I feel very comfortable. I’m pretty relaxed.’’"

Chicago White Sox fans probably want nothing more than to see Kopech take the mound for the team in live game action.

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Hopefully, Kopech will do that soon as that will be a significant step towards seeing him take the mound in the South Side this season.