The Chicago White Sox has a lot of faith in the pitcher that Michael Kopech is going to become. He has all of the talents in the world but we just haven’t been able to see it through the way we would have liked so far. He can throw two seem fastballs over 100 miles per hour which is an impressive talent on its own. It is even cooler when it dances across the zone and confuses hitters. Combine that with some fun offspeed pitches and you have yourself a really nice pitcher.
Michael Kopech made his Chicago White Sox 2021 spring training debut.
We saw everything that we would ever want to see from Kopech in his first appearance. He didn’t overpower the ball at first because he doesn’t need to. Throwing 100 is awesome but if he paints corners better by throwing it 98 that will be just fine. He was also throwing “off-speed” pitches in the high 80s which is wildly impressive as well. This is the stuff of a potential ace in the game.
This appearance from Michael came in relief form. He probably projects to be a Major League starter which is fair but they are going to be working him all the way back into that role slowly. He had Tommy John at the end of 2018 which forced him to miss all of 2019. When the MLB returned from the COVID-19 pause, Kopech decided to opt-out of the year for personal reasons. Now, he is back and looking to put it all together.
In his first exhibition game in over a year, we noticed a bit of a difference. He pitched exclusively from the stretch. That is common for most relievers but as mentioned before, Kopech is a starter that is coming out of the bullpen to begin the year. Apparently, Liam Hendriks gave him that advice for when he is coming out of the pen.
It was a small sample size for Kopech as he only threw nine pitches. It was a quick and perfect inning for him as he didn’t give up a hit (or run), walked no one, and earned one strikeout. It was just what we wanted to see from him as they are slowly getting him back.
Kopech was followed by Garrett Crochet in the ballgame. He is a very similar flamethrowing pitcher just like Kopech. It was the first time the White Sox ever used them both in a hard-throwing relief duo. This might be something that you can expect to see as the season goes along. It shouldn’t take long for the White Sox to have both of them in the starting rotation.
Lance Lynn also faced Blake Snell to start the game so you know there was some good pitching. Hopefully, that is something they can bank on being successful this season. They have an incredible offense so run prevention by good pitching and defense will be important.