This Friday the Boston Red Sox will face Michael Kopech who will forever be linked to Chris Sale. Kopech has suddenly emerged as a potential down the road ace for the White Sox staff.
The Boston Red Sox game against the White Sox in Chicago on Friday night will have an interesting sidebar as the starter for Chicago will be Michael Kopech.
Kopech is the 13th ranked prospect in baseball according to MLB Prospect Watch and the second-ranked in the talent-rich White Sox system.
The former Red Sox farmhand made his second start for the White Sox recently and it was something special for the 22-year-old righty who was part of the package for Chris Sale. Kopech went six innings against Detroit, striking out four and allowing no walks. Kopech did give up seven hits and one run in his 86 pitch effort.
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The Kopech introductory start was a two-inning rain-shortened start against the Twins in which Kopech fanned four and allowed – again – no walks. Walks have plagued Kopech ’s minor league career with a 4.4 BB/9, but the White Sox have tinkered with the hard thrower’s mechanics and the early results are positive.
Kopech had a checkered career with Boston including a suspension for PED use and a broken hand as the result of an altercation with a roommate. Recently, old social media posts surfaced in which a then 17-year-old Kopech made racist and homophobic comments. Kopech has accepted responsibility and explained he has changed since then.
The other major piece in the Sale trade has been somewhat of a disappointment for Chicago. Yoan Moncada does lead the American League in one very dubious department – strikeouts, with 183 through 8/28.
Moncada – a 23-year-old switch hitter – has flashed some power with 16 home runs and six triples, but carries a .221 average. The good news is Moncada has 55 walks that have contributed to his .312 OBP. The other dark side is Moncada’s gove work – a rather dismal -11.7 UZR/150.
Moncada who was signed for a $31 million bonus by the Red Sox is viewed as a potential five-tool player, but so far in his young career, the tools have never been put totally together. The Red Sox also had to pay a penalty of $31 million for signing the well sought after Moncada. So far the trading of Moncada and retaining Rafael Devers appears to be the right move.
The key ingredient in this trade will be Kopech who just may provide all the promise anticipated when Chicago acquired him. Baseball deals have a way of flipping themselves as players mature and this deal may just be one where regrets could surface, but for now, I doubt any Red Sox fan would request a reversal.