The Chicago White Sox announced on Twitter that they are promoting their top pitching prospect, 22-year-old Michael Kopech. Kopech will get the start in his major league debut on Tuesday, facing the division rivals Minnesota Twins.
IT’S HAPPENING: @MichaelKopech5 is coming to Chicago!
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 19, 2018
The Chicago Tribune has called his debut the “most highly anticipated call-up since Frank Thomas arrived 28 years ago,” and are expecting a packed house at Guaranteed Rate Field for his first game. White Sox fans have been waiting for the pitcher to be called up. But for baseball fans who may not remember (or know) exactly who he is, you may remember him from a video that went viral, showing Kopech pitching 110 MPH.
Kopech was acquired by the White Sox in the 2016 trade that sent starting pitcher Chris Sale to the Red Sox. The right-hander is ranked 13th on MLB.com’s top prospects list, and is the fourth-ranked pitcher.
Kopech has a 7-7 record in AAA with a 3.70 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 126.1 innings pitched (24 starts). His last seven starts have been even more impressive, giving up just nine earned runs and four walks in 44 innings pitched, with 59 strikeouts. He has a 1.84 ERA over his last four games with the Charlotte Knights.
Michael Kopech last seven starts:
9 earned runs, 44 innings, 4 walks, 59 strikeouts.
Tuesday night will be electric. See you there.
— Jason Benetti (@jasonbenetti) August 19, 2018
It’s not only fans who are excited about his debut, but the whole White Sox organization can’t wait for the 22-year-old to take the mound tomorrow.
The entire White Sox organization is practically giddy for pitcher Michael Kopech’s arrival in the majors.
— ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) August 20, 2018
With a 46-77 record and no chance of making the postseason (they are 25 games back of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central), White Sox fans have been looking for something to be excited about. Kopech gives them a reason to head to the ballpark, and he could be joined by another top prospect in the coming weeks. MLB.com’s third overall prospect, Eloy Jimenez, could get the call up before the end of the season as well, especially with rosters expanding in September.
The two likely won’t meet the qualifications for rookies this year – 50 IP for pitchers, 130 at-bats for position players, and more than 45 days on the roster during the 25-player limit. Which means both have the opportunity to gain the experience and come back out strong next year, with a chance to make a run at the Rookie of the Year award.
But that’s still a long ways away. In the meantime, they’re something for the South Side to cheer for.