3 changes we'd make to the 2023 Chicago White Sox before it's too late
By Eric Treuden
Remove Michael Kopech from the starting rotation.
For years now, Michael Kopech has seemed to be an arm that would excel in a relief pitching role rather than masquerading as a starter. He has been bitten by the injury bug more times than I can count and really only has two full seasons under his belt since he debuted back in 2018.
Last year, Kopech was a full-time starter. He made 25 starts for the White Sox and did very well, posting a 3.54 ERA and 113 ERA+ in 119 innings of work.
His strikeouts came way down, walks went way up and he had an unusually high FIP; so there were some things to be concerned about underneath the surface-level numbers.
People forget that the former top prospect functioned primarily as a relief pitcher as recently as the 2021 season. He made 44 appearances (only four starts) and excelled, striking out 103 batters in just 69 innings with a 3.50 ERA and a sparkling 2.97 FIP.
His 125 ERA+ remains the highest mark of his career and suggests that he was 25 percent above the league average that season.
To start 2023, things have not looked pretty for the 26-year-old. In three starts and 15.2 innings of work, he has a 6.32 ERA thanks to 11 earned runs on 16 hits and a whopping seven home runs allowed.
He has failed to strike batters out at his usual rate and is walking entirely too many batters and allowing them to reach base has come back to bite him frequently.
There may not be a long line of replacements for him, but the White Sox should move Kopech to the bullpen and see where it goes. History shows that it can work, so now is the time to begin the second phase of this experiment before his numbers spiral too far.