After being suspended for 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, Michael Kopech (RHP) is back on the right track. Kopech has always been known as kind of an off the field issue, and several incidents have put him on the trade wire. The worst of these incidents include punching a teammate in the face which broke his hand and obviously testing positive for a PED. However, he has turned it around lately as he finally is able to pitch again.
Through 28.1 innings pitched this season in 6 starts for Advanced A Salem, Kopech has an ERA of 1.27, along with 42 strikeouts. That’s right… 42 strikeouts in a season total of 28.1 innings, which means he averages 1.49 strikeouts every inning. This stat basically guarantees that in every inning he pitches, he’ll strike out at least one guy. Also, Kopech currently has a WHIP of 1.09, proving that he has the ability to get outs. Lastly, he only has 16 walks which shows he has the power to command his upper 90s to 100mph fastball.
Obviously, Kopech is known for flashing an absolute heater at 105mph fastball, but most of the time he lives in the low 100s and upper 90s. Further improving his arsenal, he tosses a heavy 12-6 with great action. That being said, Kopech and the training staff feels that he has room to fill out. At 6’3” and 205lbs, he probably has room on him for another 20lbs of muscle. Now, if he’s already throwing in the low to mid 100s, imagine the velocity if he puts on more weight. We could be looking at a record setting fastball, potentially being able to sit 103-104 and occasionally flash something 106-107. This is all just conjecture, but don’t call me crazy because this is a definite possibility that the world needs to prepare for. That being said, the name of the game is control, and if he can continue to throw high heat with control, then I’d say he’ll be ready to become a closer for the Sox during the post Kimbrel era.
All in all, Kopech could be a great future closer, as I feel his talents could be used most effectively as a come in and shutdown type of pitcher. However, we will see what the coaching staff does with him, as he continues to perform well at the Advanced A level.