Why It Was Time The Chicago White Sox Pulled The Plug On Michael Kopech As A Starting Pitcher

The team announced he will be moved to the bullpen permanently.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This was supposed to be a make-or-break season for Chicago White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech as a starter. After three inconsistent spring training starts, he broke those chances.

General manager Chris Getz announced the team is pulling the plug on Kopech being a starting pitcher. He is being moved to the bullpen permanently.

Getz explained that it just came down with Kopech usually driving up his pitch count early, he was not going to go deep into games.

Anyone with eyes could see that. Kopech has an amazing fastball especially when he gets that pitch to dance all over the strike zone. The problem is he is very inconsistent in doing that along with commanding the rest of his pitches. The man issued 91 walks in 129.1 innings last season.

He just was not working out as a starter.

He was nothing more than potential out there and as we know, potential is not consistent, nor effective.

Kopech was effective out of the bullpen in 2021. You remember that glorious season? The Sox won the AL Central and looked like a team that would contend for years before the Houston Astros destroyed them in the ALDS and then all the chaos that followed slammed the contention window shut after that year.

Kopech finished with a 3.50 ERA and a 2.97 FIP that year. He also seemed to thrive in high-leverage situations. For all the criticism that former manager Tony La Russa earned, knowing when to deploy Kopech in late-game situations was something he was fantastic at. Kopech commanding his stuff made him a weapon out of the bullpen.

Then he became a shell of himself trying to be a starter. Injuries also played a role as it always has during his career.

He was okay in 2022 but there were signs that he was going to fail like he did in 2023. His 7.71 ERA during spring training indicated it was not going to get any better. Although it is interesting he only got three starts before the organization decided enough was enough.

Then again, why keep beating a dead horse?

Kopech in the bullpen makes all the sense in the world.

He can still get outs and he can focus on using his fastball more. NBC Sports Chicago color commentator Steve Stone has been excellent (when is he not?) in diagnosing Kopech's problem. He has always pointed out on his local radio hits (on 670 the Score) and television broadcasts if Michael is physically feeling well, he can control his pitches. It is when he is not, then he struggles.

Kopech admitted he is still trying to find his legs after offseason surgery. If you have a pitcher who struggles to pitch through aches and pains, there is no reason to add more work to his load. This is a guy who kept saying how tired he was last season.

The Sox need to salvage something out of Kopech's career. He is no longer the phenom pitcher we all thought he was when he first came up in 2018. He still has the stuff to be an effective sixth or seventh-inning reliever. Less work means less chance of wearing out Kopech.

Plus, it is time to move on, especially if the Sox want to make Garrett Crochet into a starter. Pitching guru Brian Bannister should focus his time there instead of trying to salvage something out of Kopech as a starter.