Now that the inevitable has occurred, it is time to discuss Michael Kopech’s debut with the White Sox this Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Outside of a few starts in which he was roughed up, Kopech has been one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Both White Sox fans and those that closely follow the minor leagues will have their eyes on Tuesday night’s debut start. With that said, let’s take a look at the Sox young righty through the lens of Magnum Start Value (MSV) for combimetrics analysis.
One thing to point out before delving into data would be that all but one of Kopech’s Magnum Starts took place after the All-Star break (5/18 lone exception), while eight of his final ten starts would qualify as Quality Starts. Three of those were of the Magnum variety, meaning Kopech was tossing an MS 30% of the time during that time span. In other words, 37.5% of his QS were MS.
If you want to dig even deeper into Kopech’s MSV totals, all of his Magnum Starts would fall under Minima Yearly Percentage (MYP) of MY-Dot. That would mean his YMT and YMA from Charlotte would be low, however, due to a lack of play-by-play data for MiLB, those are impossible to calculate without fear of error.
Moving on from MSV, Kopech’s traditional statistics are interesting to look at. He struck out 170 batters in 126.1 IP, fanning ten or more in three outings. The latter could have occurred an additional six times, as he sent nine men back to the dugout without contact in six other starts, including his last three outings.
Unfortunately for Kopech, his power arm is still raw meaning he issues more walks than the Sox would prefer. That is evident by one number-four. What am I eluding to? The fact that Kopech has allowed a free pass in all but four outings, which is 16.7% of the time. Now, one or two walks are far from awful, but at the big league level hitters can be extremely selective. One thing to consider when looking over these numbers would the current run Kopech has been on, where all three of his zero free pass campaigns took place over his last three starts. Will that continue on the South Side? Hopefully, but you can’t be sure until he feels the adrenaline of a big league game.
Before we wrap up, I just want to make note of Kopech’s ERA and WHIP. They were 3.70 and 1.27 at Charlotte respectively, however, both had been trending downwards (ERA cracked five while WHIP broke 1.45 midseason) prior to his promotion to the big club. The former are respectable, however, Kopech had five outings in which he failed to make it past the fourth inning. Hopefully, those days are behind him, but with young pitchers, there are peaks and valleys to their development, which can be seen in the case of Lucas Giolito.
All in all, it should be quite the spectacle at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday. His 100 MPH heat will be on display, which is what many of the fans are purchasing their seats for. Kopech may be in luck facing the Twins, who are nowhere near a solid lineup. Does that mean he will throw a shutout? No, but it enhances his chances for a quality outing. Let’s hope the Sox fans get to see one.