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Twitterpating: Rotation review

Rounding up takes on the mostly upward-pointing trends of the White Sox arms

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
The Kurious Kase of Michael Kopech: The White Sox immediately started getting younger better once the phenom was called up.
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

We begin this edition with Michael Kopech, because these days, almost everything White Sox has to begin with Michael Kopech. The team has been invigorated to the tune of eight wins in 11 games since his call-up was announced on August 19, and stretching his current WAR pace over 200 innings has him nipping at double-digits.

First up, Paul Sporer breaks down Kopech’s debut. Yeah, we’re late on this one, but man there is some tasty video, and boy howdy, that changeup gets some attention:

Michael Kopech’s Rain-Shortened Debut | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
He’s far from a finished product, but the stuff is undeniably electric and it’s going to be fun watching him over the final month-plus. I’m excited to watch his development.

Jeff Sullivan takes a look at Kopech, aided by clips of his first victory at the Detroit Tigers, emphasizing his strike rate as a key to success:

Michael Kopech Can’t Stop Throwing Strikes | FanGraphs Baseball
Many would argue it takes a lifetime to become an adult. According to Dustin Garneau, catcher with Triple-A Charlotte, Michael Kopech did it in a day.

Let’s flip over to the other two phenoms in the rotation, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López. First, from Beyond the Box Score, is a particularly poorly-timed piece on how disappointing the two have been in 2018. Perhaps FIPmyWHIP has executed a sort of “reverse SI jinx” on the pair with this piece. Interestingly, however, FIPmyWHIP does suggest López working his off-speed to better effect is a key, and hell if we didn’t see that last night, to WOW effect:

Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez have had disappointing seasons - Beyond the Box Score
While both Giolito and Lopez have struggled throughout the entire season, there is a ton of pressure on these two top-ranked prospects to fill the type of shoes left by Chris Sale when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. While it’s too early to say for sure who won the trade between the White Sox and Nationals, unless both Giolito and Lopez show significant growth by this time next year, it could end up as a below average return for the White Sox.

Count Sullivan as bullish on Giolito. This piece focuses solely on him, and while written just five days after the dour piece above, it is a decidedly sunnier take on the lanky righthander’s season:

Lucas Giolito Is Saving His Season | FanGraphs Baseball
Recent Giolito has been the best version of 2018 Giolito. He’s been throwing far more strikes. He’s been missing far more bats. He’s also been generating far more grounders. Whatever you’d want, Giolito has been doing it, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Giolito’s stuff has also improved.

And while you’d be foolish to bank too many Steve Rosenbloom columns for their wisdom, the sardonic wit re: Eloy and general overview of the “rotation of the future” is worth a peek:

Wake up, people: This could be the week we'll circle in recounting steps in the White Sox rebuild - Chicago Tribune
If you’re going to pieces over the interminable Eloy Jimenez hostage crisis, then you might miss a prime-time rollout of what could be the rotation of the future – the rotation for a decade if this works out.

Bonus content

In the case of great minds think alike, or John Sickels being inspired by our Under the Radar series, the Minor League Ball maven takes on José Rondón a mere three days after our piece on the middle infield clubber:

Thoughts on Chicago White Sox prospect Jose Rondon - Minor League Ball
22 homers this year. . .previous career-high was seven