After Eloy Jimenez swept through town, Guaranteed Rate Field got another shot of precocious confidence when Michael Kopech arrived for the same tour.
Chicago's No. 3 prospect per MLBPipeline.com -- and No. 11 overall -- is so excited to join the big league team that he brought his glove with him Wednesday when he met with the media at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"If they need me," a smiling Kopech said.
Unlike Jimenez, Kopech sounded a little more done with the season. Then again, he more than doubled his previous career high in innings by throwing 1341⁄3 of them. He said during the broadcast with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone that he was going to take some time off, as this was his first time working through a full five-month season.
He had hit a wall leading up to the All-Star break. In his last five starts of the first half, four failed to get past four innings. He had already exceed his biggest workload at that point, so one could assume it was fatigue. And maybe it was, but Kopech said he lost the thread mentally rather than physically.
"I was thinking too far ahead, thinking about maybe a promotion or whatever the case may be," Kopech said. "(It was) kind of realizing that taking it day by day, week by week, month by month is more important than looking ahead. There's a plan intact, and I don't make it."
In a video the White Sox cut for him, he said that rut was due to teams getting a second look at him, and forcing him to tighten up his mechanics.
.@MichaelKopech5 reflects on his stellar 2017 season: pic.twitter.com/Krx7WYQbRS— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 6, 2017
Whatever the case, not only did he get through a full season, but he was lights out after the Futures Game. Between six starts in Birmingham and three with Charlotte, he posted a 1.29 ERA with a .178/.235/.252 line allowed. That finish earned him titles such as the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, and the White Sox’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for both August and September, and accelerated his timetable for his MLB debut.
Service time concerns mean he won’t make the Opening Day roster, but everybody’s going to be thinking about promotions prematurely if he picks up where he left off.
Missoula 11, Great Falls 9
- Craig Dedelow went 2-for-6 with a double and two strikeotus.
- Justin Yurchak was 1-for-5 with a strikeout.
- Franklin Reyes went 2-for-5.
- Great Falls fell a game behind Missoula for first place in the Pioneer League North.