He should stay The second piece of the Chris Sale trade, the White Sox are still heavily invested in getting everything they can out of Kopech’s exceptional upside. He carried a stellar 1.94 ERA through his first 10 starts before being inexplicably forced to take the mound for a game with an obvious injury. With a few more innings built up after recovering from TJS and rehabbing in the bullpen for most of 2021, Kopech has set himself up to take a nice step forward in 2023. At the height of his powers is nigh unhittable, and it’s almost impossible to equal his upside.
He should go Though not entirely his fault, Kopech was basically another Vince Velasquez after his first 10 starts (yep, it was a 4.74 ERA and 5.54 FIP in Kopech’s final 15 starts). His fastball velocity dropped precipitously as his physical condition worsened, and while it could be argued he learned a bit of craftiness without his elite stuff to lean on, the results are hardly encouraging. Kopech’s season ended early with a knee injury, and he may be yet another porcelain doll on a team full of valuable but fragile assets.
The verdict Now entering arbitration, Kopech has to produce on some level to earn his keep. Any normal team would have put him on the IL after (or even before!) his horrifying June 12 start, but the White Sox botched handling him about as thoroughly as they could, leaving his status for 2023 in some doubt. As such, while there would likely be interest in Kopech on the trade market, any team would see him as damaged goods. As such, there’s no reason to sell low, particularly as the White Sox struggle to build rotation depth. Assuming he’s healthy and ready to go for spring training, count on Kopech to be back next season, with a more prominent role and ideally shooting for the 150 innings/30 starts mark.