White Sox

White Sox

Michael Kopech didn't expect the video of him throwing 110 mph earlier in January to blow up as much as it did.
 
The 20-year-old flamethrower was throwing with an under load ball, which weighs three ounces, when he clocked in at 110, but it turned a lot of heads.
 
"The whole drill was just to speed up my arm and get my arm speed back to max effort and ready to go for the season," Kopech said at SoxFest on Friday. "It's not something that's going to be expected out of me every time I get on the mound. I'm not going to throw 110 every time I get on the mound. I should probably start with that. It was fun for the fans to watch I think. Eye-popping number. It's mainly just a drill to get me in shape for the season."
 
What Kopech can do, however, is throw over 100 mph with a regular baseball. But don't expect to see it on a consistent basis.
 
"I threw 105 off a mound this year. But again, that's not something that will be every time," Kopech said. "Like I was saying earlier my main focus is pitching and not necessarily throwing hard. I'm more worried about strikes and put outs than velocity."
 
While the video was impressive, Kopech is trying to keep things in perspective.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
 
"I try not to do too much with the attention, try not to get carried away with it," Kopech said. "People want to see me succeed and I think that's awesome. I want to succeed. And I've got people in my corner pulling for me so that's pretty cool."
 
Kopech, who was a key player in the trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston, had a solid season in Single-A Salem.

 

He went 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.038 WHIP, and also recorded 82 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched. It's the kind of numbers and stuff that made pitching coach Don Cooper's "eyes lit up" when he first saw the right-hander throw. His pitching style also has drawn early comparisons to New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, not to mention they share the same hairstyle.
 
When Todd Frazier caught wind of the video, the White Sox third baseman couldn't wait to step in the batter's box against him in spring training.
 
"Frazier's a phenomenal hitter," Kopech said. "The fact that he's excited to face me is pretty motivating. I think I've got some more work to do this spring training now that I've heard that. But that's cool. I'm ready to be in the same clubhouse as him."
 
Like any baseball player, their objective is to reach The Show as soon as possible. For Kopech, he's hoping to do that as soon as possible.

Even though he will likely start the 2017 season in the minors, his eyes are still set on seeing his name on the Opening Day roster.
 
"Obviously I've always been a guy to set my goals big, and if I fall short, I'm still going to land somewhere at a fairly decent level," Kopech said. "I'm not going to put any words in their mouth cause ultimately the decision is up to them. I'm not just going to hold back and settle."