MIAMI — Though temporarily distracted on Sunday by possibly facing Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech said he can’t help but to think about his next promotion.
The pitching prospect said before the All-Star Futures Game that he hoped to face the only farmhand ranked higher than him in the White Sox system (Moncada) and wanted to strike him out. Kopech is the No. 11 rated prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com, while Moncada is No. 1 overall. But Kopech also wonders when he’ll be on the move again; he hopes for a promotion to at least Triple-A Charlotte if not the big leagues.
“I'd be lying if I said it was easy to just not think about being promoted,” Kopech said. “But for the most part, you've got to take it day-by-day. If I can win the day, then I can win the week. And if I can win the week, I can win the month. And if I can win the month, I'll get promoted eventually. Right now, I'm trying not to think about that too much. I'm just trying to take it day-by-day.”
Kopech won the day at the Futures Game with a perfect inning in relief. He also earned some serious bragging rights when he struck out Moncada — the top prospect in baseball — on four pitches. Kopech’s fastball touched 101 mph on the radar gun and sat between 98-100 mph.
Though he’s struggled recently, the performance is indicative of the type of season Kopech has had at Birmingham. Kopech has 101 strikeouts and a 4.02 ERA in 78 1/3 innings pitched. He has walked 53 batters.
His performance has earned him honors as the franchise’s minor league pitcher of the month in April. He also earned an All-Star at Double-A Birmingham as well as the Futures Game appearance.
“I've had some ups and downs,” Kopech said. “Luckily for me, more ups than downs. But, I'm comfortable with what I've been doing, the way I've been pitching and the pitches I've been throwing. If I can just continue and pick up back where I left off in the first half, then I'll be satisfied with the year.”