The legend of Michael Kopech began to grow not long after Espinoza was traded. It all started when Kopech's fastball was clocked at 105 mph by multiple scouts during his debut for High-A Salem. This success continued in Salem for the rest of the season as he finished 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts. What caught the eyes of the fans was the fact that he put up these numbers while striking out batters at an astronomical rate. 14.2 K/9 to be exact.
This brings us to the Arizona Fall League. Playing in the AFL was Kopech's opportunity to prove that he could hold his own against some of the best prospects that baseball has to offer. As expected by all Sox fans, he went down there and tore it up. In 22 1/3 innings of work, Kopech went 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 26 K's. You can't ask for much more out of a guy who spent much of his early professional career flying under the radar for one reason or another. He has truly proven that he deserves to be regarded as one of baseball's best young stars. Based on the reports that we've gotten, scouts seem to feel the same way.
Michael Kopech oozes potential. He has all the raw talent (and hair) in the world. If he can just keep himself on the field, then we might just have our first homegrown ace since Jon Lester. Unfortunately, he will remain in the minor leagues for at least one more year. But look on the bright side, if someone's going to be throwing 105 mph, at least it's someone in our organization.