The spring training is starting in earnest and the new hot prospects that are the heart of the new Chicago White Sox are showing up and doing what they can to impress the coaches and staff all with the hopes that they will get to step onto the field on the south side and make a difference. Of course, we as fans know that this is going to be a rough season – but for the first time in a long time there is real hope that a winning team is close. One of those who looks like he could be a star is potential ace pitcher Michael Kopech.
Kopech is all of 20 years old and he has been clocked with an arm able to throw a ball 105 mph pretty consistently. He was part of the trade that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox and was one of the Red Sox’s top prospects. He’s got blond hair and good looks and he also has a rocket for an arm.
Great right? Well, according to a report from Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, the key is to get him to slow things down just a little.
According to reports, he has been already throwing each and every time like he wants to rip a hole through the hands of the catcher. That’s great, sometimes, but not every time. Cooper has reportedly been working with the young man to get him to slow down a little. He has to relax a bit, according to Coop, and learn how to throw strikes.
That’s what’s going to make this season rather interesting. That first time Kopech gets the call and gets to the mound, more than likely he is going to be all over the place. Sure, he’ll probably rocket them in there over 100 mph, but seasoned batters will soon be able to pick up on that. Big time sluggers will love that and, soon, they’ll be teeing off of him as if that ball were standing still.
As fans this is what we’ll have to watch. The team is going to be rough when it starts, but how do these young player react? How does new manager Rick Renteria react? Will the coaches be able to help these young guys adjust, slow down, and adapt? Are the White Sox in the right spot, with the right people, to actually nurture young talent to become big-time, big-league talent that can eventually lead this team into the post-season and, perhaps, to another championship?
It’s what we fans want. Kopech is one to watch. If he can learn now to blow his arm out from the first inning, to broaden his arsenal of pitches, to get the ball into the glove of the catcher and not just throw all over the place, then he’ll become a star. It’s going to be a very long haul for fans and for the players this season – but it’s also going to be fun to watch and see it come together.