LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Michael Kopech is just like White Sox fans: He wants to know when he’s going to reach the bigs.
But Kopech has connections.
As the Winter Meetings got started Monday in Florida, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn made an appearance on MLB Network, where analyst Harold Reynolds relayed a message from Kopech, asking the man who will eventually make that decision when the White Sox top pitching prospect will reach the big leagues.
Thanks Harold... lol https://t.co/BHWPuTVT45— Kopech (@MichaelKopech5) December 11, 2017
As for the answer to that question, Hahn made an apt comparison to last season, when the White Sox weren’t expecting Kopech to dominate the minor leagues the way he did. Kopech, acquired in the Chris Sale trade around this time last year, posted a 2.87 ERA in 22 starts with Double-A Birmingham, striking out 155 hitters in 119.1 innings of work. He gave up just five runs in a trio of starts with Triple-A Charlotte at the end of the minor league season.
Hahn mentioned that Kopech wildly exceeded expectations last year. So why can’t he do it again in 2018?
“A year ago at this time, the very reasonable goals for Michael Kopech would have been (to) take the ball every fifth day, which he had not done yet, and hold his own at an advanced placement, at Double-A, at age 21. He radically surpassed both of those,” Hahn said on TV. “Not only did he take the ball every fifth day, he set a career high in innings, 135-ish, but he also dominated Double-A and earned a promotion to Triple-A.
“So we’ll again enter 2018 with a very reasonable development plan for him, and the good ones will knock the doors off of it. Michael’s a good one, Eloy (Jimenez) we expect to be a good one. They have a way of changing our plans on us. So we’ll see.”
That “we’ll see” is surely enough to make White Sox fans hope to see Kopech in a White Sox uniform very soon.
It seems Kopech is hoping to see that, too.