(CBS) After meeting every expectation that the White Sox set for him in the minor leagues in this 2017 season, 21-year-old right-hander Michael Kopech will have the opportunity to win a starting rotation spot in spring training next season.
"Yeah, I think ultimately he's shown the ability at whatever level he's pitched at to take the challenge and run with it," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins on 670 The Score on Tuesday. "He's done that. He's showing maturity beyond his years, work ethic, everything you want out of a guy that you want to be competing for a spot next spring training. I think he has not only the physical talent but the mental capabilities to do it. I fully expect him to compete for one next year."
Acquired in the Chris Sale trade with the Red Sox last December, Kopech went 8-7 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 155 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings at Double-A Birmingham this season. He was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte a little more than a week ago and is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 10 strikeouts in 10 innings there.
General manager Rick Hahn recently lauded Kopech for addressing every task the White Sox gave him.
"At the top of the list for Michael at the start of this season would essentially be one, take the ball every fifth day," Hahn said in an interview with Danny Parkins on 670 The Score on Aug. 10. "Which is something he hasn't done yet as a pro, which I think people lose sight of. Two, it's ideally continue to compete at the advanced placement level that we put him in at age 20, 21, putting him in the Double-A Southern League. And he surpassed both of those with flying colors. Not only has he been able to take the ball every fifth day and thereby surpassed his innings max over the last few years."
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