Michael Kopech
23-Year-Old PitcherSP
Chicago White Sox AAA
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Since 2000, of six starting pitchers who had their first Tommy John surgery in September, as Kopech did in 2018, the average innings pitched in the season that began 18 months later was 101.2. Two of the six (Mike Hampton, Scott Mathieson) did not make it back at all during what should have been their comeback years. Kopech has an 80-grade fourseam fastball with elite spin and will flash a plus slider and plus changeup. However, his command and control are fringe-average at best. Considering command is often the last thing to return for pitchers coming off TJS, we should not panic if he is wild in spring training or even the first couple months of the season. He is undeniably a flyball pitcher, so home runs will sometimes follow his walks and hit batsmen. This is not the year to expect quality ratios, but there will be a lot of strikeouts if he is lucky enough to avoid setbacks when he starts to ramp up. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Red Sox in June of 2014 that includes a $1.5 million signing bonus.
Headed to Triple-A
PChicago White Sox  AAA
March 26, 2020
The White Sox optioned Kopech to Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday, James Fegan of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
Kopech is healthy again after missing the entire 2019 season following Tommy John surgery, but the White Sox likely want to see their top pitching prospect build up his pitch count and refine his command at Triple-A for at least a few starts before returning him into the big-league rotation. The hard-throwing righty made just one appearance in Cactus League play before MLB suspended its season, striking out one over a perfect inning.
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Pitching Stats
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2019
2018
2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-36%
BAA vs LHP
2019
No Stats
2018
 
 
-36%
BAA vs LHP
2017
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .258 34 9 1 8 2 0 1
Since 2017vs Right .400 34 6 1 12 3 0 3
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left .258 34 9 1 8 2 0 1
2018vs Right .400 34 6 1 12 3 0 3
2017vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-80%
ERA on Road
2019
No Stats
2018
 
 
-80%
ERA on Road
2017
No Stats
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 7.56 1.80 8.1 0 1 0 11.9 2.2 4.3
Since 2017Away 1.50 1.17 6.0 1 0 0 6.0 0.0 0.0
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home 7.56 1.80 8.1 0 1 0 11.9 2.2 4.3
2018Away 1.50 1.17 6.0 1 0 0 6.0 0.0 0.0
2017Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Prospect Rankings History
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Defensive Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Michael Kopech
Farm Futures: Ranking Dilemmas: Prospects 26-50
3 days ago
James Anderson continues his series on prospect ranking dilemmas, including an explanation of why he "hates" Blue Jays flamethrower Nate Pearson.
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9 days ago
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Delayed Season Primer: Whose Draft Stock Is Rising?
15 days ago
Erik Halterman analyzes how the postponement of the baseball season will impact injured players like Justin Verlander and others who spring draft stock was suppressed.
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
18 days ago
Jesse Siegel highlights minor leaguers to keep an eye on, including Texas' Nick Solak, who has the bat to join the Rangers but just needs a position.
My AL Tout Wars Team
My AL Tout Wars Team
19 days ago
19 days ago
Chris Liss bought a few injured players at a discount, figuring the delayed start to the season will give them time to heal.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
Chicago's tantalizing fireballer grinded his way to a late-season MLB debut, battling control issues at Triple-A for much of the season. The excitement was short lived, as he required Tommy John surgery in mid-September. Kopech gave up a run on 11 hits and one walk while hitting five batters and striking out nine over 11 innings in his first three MLB starts (two were cut short by rain). He was pummeled in his final start, which also included a rain delay before he tore his UCL. There is a lot of noise in his tiny MLB sample -- elbow issues resulted in his velocity ticking down in each successive start and only one was unaffected by rain -- but in his debut outing his 96.8 mph four-seamer averaged 2,629 rpm -- Justin Verlander led qualified starters at 2,618 rpm. He also flashed a plus slider and plus changeup. Kopech will miss all of 2019 and with a normal recovery he will be fully healthy for spring training in 2020 -- 17-plus months removed from the surgery.
Last year Kopech's doubters thought he would end up as a high-leverage reliever, but now he seems more likely to wind up on the cover of GQ than in a big-league bullpen. There are reasonable arguments for a couple other hurlers (Forrest Whitley and Alex Reyes), but Kopech will be ranked by most as the top pitching prospect in the game this offseason. In addition to his famed 80-grade fastball, which he can dial up to triple digits with ease, Kopech made massive strides with his slider and changeup. Both secondaries now project as plus offerings, and with improving command, a future No. 1 starter is coming into focus. The White Sox kept him at Double-A for most of 2017, but rewarded his improvement with a three-start run at Triple-A to close out the year. He will return to Charlotte, but he should spend the bulk of 2018 in the big-league rotation. His immediate floor is a high-strikeout ratio risk, but if he throws enough strikes, he could be an SP2 on a per-start basis.
Kopech made headlines in 2016, both bad and good. The bad was breaking his hand in spring training while getting into an altercation with a teammate, delaying his start to the season until July. Between this incident and missing 50 games of development in 2015 due to testing positive for a banned substance, there were some makeup questions dogging him. Once the 6-foot-3 right-hander started pitching, the good headlines started. His calling card is an overpowering fastball that touches triple digits. He breezed through Carolina League hitters, striking out 82 in 52 innings (14.2 K/9) and was clearly one of the top prospects in the Arizona Fall League. It is easy to see why the White Sox insisted Kopech be part of the deal for Chris Sale. Commanding the heater (5.0 BB/9 in 2016) in addition to improving the secondary offerings and building up innings (134.2 in three seasons) make up his to-do list for 2017.
Kopech is one of Boston’s better pitching prospects at the lower levels of the organization, projecting as a No. 2 starter if it all clicks for him. He was given a challenging assignment to Low-A Greenville to start the season and was successful at that level, finishing 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA while striking out 70 in 65 innings. The bad news is that Kopech was suspended 50 games for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension wiped out the rest of his regular season, leaving him only an option of working out at team’s training facility in Fort Myers. He was able to work on a few things there, in particular his off-speed stuff and ironing out his mechanics. Kopech participated in the Fall Instructional League, making up for some lost development time. His major areas of focus in 2016 are repeating his delivery, commanding his fastball and refining the secondary stuff. He’ll likely open at Greenville.
Kopech was the second of Boston's two first-round picks in the 2014 draft. Coming out of high school, he was immediately assigned to the Gulf Coast League, where he held opponents to a measly .216 average and .255 slugging percentage. His problems with control and command were evident -- nine walks in 13.2 innings -- but his mid-90s heater (touching 97-98 mph) was effective against other rookies. Kopech has a lot of moving parts to his delivery, but has already worked to correct some of that. His secondary pitches are works in progress, but his raw stuff gives him a high ceiling if it can be harnessed. The Red Sox may challenge him at Low-A Greenville in 2015 for his first full-season assignment.
More Fantasy News
Makes first start since TJ surgery
PChicago White Sox  AAA
March 11, 2020
Kopech threw a perfect inning in Tuesday's spring game against the Rangers, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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First spring start scheduled
PChicago White Sox  AAA
March 8, 2020
Kopech (elbow) will start Tuesday's game against the Rangers, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
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Impresses in live batting practice
PChicago White Sox  AAA
February 28, 2020
Kopech (elbow) threw a live batting practice session Friday, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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Throws on side
PChicago White Sox  AAA
February 12, 2020
Kopech (elbow) threw a side session Wednesday, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports.
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Expects to begin 2020 at Triple-A
PChicago White Sox  AAA
January 23, 2020
Kopech (elbow) assumes he'll be starting the season at Triple-A Charlotte, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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