It’s no secret that the White Sox and their fans are hoping to see both Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech in the big leagues in 2018. And according to one full-season projection system, it seems that the computers agree that both will be MLB contributors very soon.
FanGraphs’ Steamer600 projections forecast what MLB hitters would do over 600 plate appearances and what pitchers would do over 200 innings – and both Jimenez and Kopech are close to MLB-ready.
Jimenez, MLB.com’s 5th ranked prospect, is projected to provide a 1.9 offensive WAR and Kopech, MLB.com’s 10th ranked prospect, would account for 1.4 WAR over the course of a full season.
So what does that mean?
Here are some comparable MLB players from 2017 in offensive Wins Above Replacement for Jimenez:
Jackie Bradley Jr., BOS – 1.9 (541 PA)
Jedd Gyorko, STL – 1.9 (481 PA)
Andrew Benintendi, BOS – 1.9 (658 PA)
Yasiel Puig, LAD – 1.9 (570 PA)
Salvador Perez, KC – 1.9 (499 PA)
Very solid company, considering those five players combined for an average OPS of .788. The Steamer600 projections peg Jimenez for a .770 OPS over 600 plate appearances.
The full forecast is as follows: a .267 batting average, an on-base percentage of .317 and a .453 slugging percentage to go along with 23 home runs.
Meanwhile, Kopech might be a bit further away from being an impact player with a projected WAR of 1.4 over 200 innings.
Here are some MLB WAR comparisons from 2017 for Kopech:
Julio Teheran, ATL – 1.6 (188.1 IP)
Lucas Giolito, CHW – 1.5 (45.1 IP)
Dellin Betances, NYY – 1.5 (59.2 IP)
Miguel Gonzalez, CHW/TEX – 1.5 (156.0 IP)
Greg Holland, COL – 1.4 (44.2 IP)
As you can see, the comparisons are not nearly as promising for Kopech as they are for Jimenez. The comparable range is mostly made up of late-inning relievers or middle-of-the-pack starting pitchers.
With a 100 mile-per-hour fastball and wipeout slider come the occasional control issues, and that is where the Steamer600 projections hurt Kopech the most, with a forecasted walk rate of 5.4 walks per 9 innings pitched.
The full forecast for Kopech includes a 4.84 ERA with 216 strikeouts over 32 starts with 32 home runs allowed.
Whether these projections come close to reality or not, having Kopech and Jimenez on the Major League doorstep is sure to give the White Sox rebuild yet another boost in the coming season.