MINNEAPOLIS -- If Buddy Bell could only see one more game in his life in his life, he’d pick to watch a Michael Kopech start.
The White Sox assistant general manager said Tuesday he loves watching the way the franchise’s top pitching prospect finishes innings. Kopech, who is scheduled to make his final start of the season on Friday at Triple-A Charlotte, was mentioned earlier Tuesday in a 670-AM interview with amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler as a candidate for the 2018 White Sox starting rotation. Kopech is the No. 12 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.
“I was telling Ricky today if I had a chance to see one more game in my life, it would be with him on the mound,” Bell said. “I love watching young kids, it’s my job. But just his presence, the kind of teammate he is and the way he finishes innings is exceptional. But the thing I like most about him is he’s much more mature than his age. He’s way ahead of the curve. Has obviously had a great upbringing, has got some confidence. But the way he finishes innings is something that’s --- he’s got much better as the year has gone on, too.”
Kopech had been scheduled to start Thursday’s game for Triple-A Charlotte. But the White Sox have opted to give the right-hander, who has pitched a career-high 129 1/3 innings, an extra day before his final turn of the season. Kopech is 9-7 with a 2.85 ERA and 165 strikeouts this season.
“A lot of pitchers get impatient with two outs,” Bell said. “So they’re (messing) around out there, they won’t throw strikes, they won’t stay aggressive. He just keeps going right after them. He’s actually better in that situation. All the good pitchers are like that but most pitchers seem to have trouble when they get to two outs because they don’t have the patience to get through an inning. He’s really a fun kid to watch.”
Bell noted how much more entertaining his job has been this season with a minor league system stuffed full of high-end talent. He confirmed that prospect Eloy Jimenez is set to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Bell also noted that the White Sox originally planned for Charlie Tilson to play in the Arizona Fall League but he has been replaced by Double-A outfielder Tito Polo. Tilson is currently rehabbing in Chicago.
Bell said he’s intrigued to see how catcher Seby Zavala fares in the AFL. Since he was promoted, Zavala is hitting .309/.388/.511 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 49 games at Single-A Winston-Salem.
“He’s having a really, really good year,” Bell said. “Our catching went from kind of scarce to not too bad. (Zack) Collins has had a really good year overall and Zavala has kind of stayed right there with him.”