When we are not salivating over the possibilities of Mookie Betts helping the big club in the outfield, avid Red Sox fans look to the future in tonight’s MLB first year player draft. The Red Sox took Georgia high schooler and Dan Uggla clone Michael Chavis with the 26th pick of the first round. With the 33rd pick (compensation for losing Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees), the second to last in the first round, the Red Sox selected Michael Kopech, a right handed pitcher from Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Information seems to vary on Kopech in terms of how hard he can throw. Some reports have him sitting at the 90-93 mph range, touching 94 at times. Other reports have him throwing as hard as 98. In his interview on the draft show, he said that he models himself after fellow Texas native Nolan Ryan. When you see Kopech throw, you will see that his delivery is nothing like Ryan’s. He also said that he is superstitious, repeating the same rituals before each pitch.
Signability could potentially be an issue. Kopech has committed to the University of Arizona which is a premier program that won the National Championship back in 2012. In terms of numbers, Kopech can strike some people out. His senior stats: 121 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 57.2 innings.
If there is any concern about Kopech, it is that he has a lot of moving parts and had some control issues earlier in his high school career. Kopech has a very high leg kick and turns his back to the plate before he throws. Since the Red Sox took a position player with their first pick, it is not surprising they took Kopech, who has front-end starter potential.