MLB: Spring Training-Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox

South Side Morning 5: Kopech Is Dealing

1. The White Sox couldn’t extend their walk-off win streak to three, as they fell to the Blue Jays 8-4 on Tuesday night. With Willy Garcia moved to the 7-day DL as a result of his scary collision with Yoan Moncada on Monday, Nicky Delmonico was called up from Triple-A, and he immediately made his debut starting in left field. With his family in attendance, Delmonico bagged his first major league hit, singling in a 1-for-4 performance.

Delmonico is a bit of a tweener as a prospect.  He can cover both outfield and infield corners, but unless he takes another step forward in his development it’s likely his bat limits him to a bench / platoon / second division starter role.  Delmonico has had his advocates, and with his mysterious departure from Milwaukee and reappearance in the White Sox system it hasn’t been a traditional development path.  Also in his favor is the fact that he shredded Double-A and had nice K:BB numbers in Triple-A, so maybe there’s room for him to upgrade his forecast if he shows more power.

2. Concussions are scary and often unpredictable injuries, so it is unclear when Willy Garcia will be cleared to return, but one hopes he doesn’t experience any long-term symptoms. Despite being only the third-best Garcia Breakout on the roster this year, getting what has been a league average bat with solid defense off of the Triple-A waiver wire is a victory as well if he can continue performing at this level in the future.

So far there has been no change in the day-to-day prognosis for Moncada, as it seems like he simply sustained a severe contusion to the quadriceps with appurtenant inflammation

3. On the pitching side, Mike Pelfrey nearly went six innings, but between his efforts and those of Gregory Infante, Pelfrey was charged with six runs as well. Although Pelfrey and Infante are surely giving their best efforts to try to keep their major league careers going, as far as the White Sox rebuild is concerned they fall into the category of “veteran stopgaps.” Given that the pitching staff is almost entirely composed of this phylum of pitcher at the moment, Tuesday’s game is a representative sample of the types of losses we should expect to continue for the remainder of 2017.

4. Fortunately, the arms in the system continue to impress. Michael Kopech kept his run of utter dominance rolling as he pitched 7 innings allowing only one earned run, striking out 8 and walking none. Over his last 27 innings, Kopech has walked just four batters.  Baseball America’s Ben Badler recently noted that he has done a better job of staying in line to the plate in his delivery, which is consistent with the sudden improvement in his control numbers.  Kopech’s arsenal is terrifying, so pitching deep into games and reigning in his walks checks the two biggest boxes one could have hoped for this season.  The questions now are how many more innings will the White Sox let him throw this season and can he keep this going?

Dane Dunning shoved again, striking out 11 over 7 innings with one walk and one run allowed.  In some respects this is what Dunning should be doing at High-A, given his advanced pitchability and change up. Still, if these trends continue Dunning should have positioned himself to start 2018 in Birmingham.

Compared to his recent blitzkrieg, Tuesday’s start represented a bit of a disappointment for Reynaldo Lopez, “only” striking out 5 in 5 innings while allowing two runs and 3 BBs.  Lopez seems ready for a call up, but it’s not exactly a crisis to let him keep learning in Triple-A while the White Sox see if they can find a waiver buyer for Miguel Gonzalez.

5. Blake Rutherford has had a very Blake Rutherford-y stretch since his arrival in Kannapolis, hitting .351/.415/.432. As an older high school draftee, one would hope he’d be able to dominate at this level.  Rutherford gets high marks for his bat-to-ball skills and he is controlling the strike zone well enough, but it remains to be seen how much power will arrive as he ages.

By contrast, Eloy Jimenez is six months older than Rutherford and continues to obliterate High-A, hitting .349/.406/.651 since joining Winston-Salem.

Lead Image Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA Today Sports Images.

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1 comment on “South Side Morning 5: Kopech Is Dealing”


Draft Brady Singer next year and this potential first 8 pitchers in 2020 would be electric:

SP Rodon
SP Kopech
SP Singer
SP Dunning
SP Giolito / Hansen
RP Burdi
RP Cease
RP Lopez

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