Michael Kopech is ready for the major leagues.
He has been for a while, it’s probably safe to say, but all the hand-wringing about why he hasn’t been called up — and the reasons why — will now transition into anticipation for what we’ll see when he makes his debut Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins, as the team announced on Sunday afternoon. Make no mistake: This is a debut worthy of the hype. Kopech is the most heralded White Sox pitching prospect to debut in a long time. And even those who could stand to rival it — Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale — didn’t immediately join the rotation upon promotion.
Kopech’s talent is such that you can envision him headlining the White Sox rotation for years to come. He’s the pitcher currently employed by the White Sox with the highest ceiling, and him living up to that potential is one of the most integral aspects in the success of this rebuild.Since an uncomfortably long mid-season slump, Kopech has laid waste to Triple-A hitting for the better part of the last two months. During that 10-start span, he’s tossed 59 innings with a 2.14 ERA, 82 strikeouts and just 14 walks, the latter number being the most important.
On Tuesday, we’ll get our first up-close taste of the triple-digit heat and impressive if not still developing breaking pitches. It’s an occasion that signals the start of the next step in the White Sox rebuild, and once Eloy Jimenez joins him in Chicago the White Sox will have rostered all the near-major league-ready talent that came back from the trades of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Adam Eaton over the last two years.
It would be foolish to expect immediate dividends, but Kopech joins a growing list of White Sox prospects whose development through the last month-plus of this season and into 2019 will be so key in building the next White Sox contender. Him dominating right out of the gate is less important than the innings of experience against major league hitters — every pitch and every inning of every start so valuable in aiding his development.
Yes, maybe he should have been up sooner. But he’s here now, and with him comes the beginning of a new era of sorts for the White Sox. One where the next wave of unbelievably hyped talent starts to get their opportunity to prove they’re the players who will help bring the White Sox back to relevance.
Lead Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports