White Sox fans will get a long-awaited first look at top pitching prospect Michael Kopech on Tuesday, and GM Rick Hahn spoke to the media today about the decision to bring the prized righty to the Majors (links to Twitter via James Fegan of The Athletic, Daryl Van-Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times and Scott Merkin of MLB.com). Hahn said that the team feels Kopech has turned a corner recently and that the organizational hope all along has been to get a look at how he fares against big league hitters at some point during the 2018 season. Chicago made Kopech earn the promotion, but with a 59-to-4 K/BB ratio across his pat 44 innings, the control troubles he’s battled throughout the minors look to be much improved. The Sox aren’t announcing who’ll be bumped from the rotation, but Hahn said that Kopech will start every fifth day, though the team will be “flexible” and conscientious of his innings, as he’s already just eight shy of his career-high 134 frames.
As for slugging outfielder Eloy Jimenez, White Sox fans will have to wait a bit longer. Hahn said that Jimenez will “remain in [Triple-A] Charlotte at this time” and will be further evaluated in the coming weeks (Twitter link via Van Schouwen).
Here’s more from the division…
- Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey spoke with Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about the team’s summer sale of veteran assets, acknowledging that it’s a change of course from how the organization has typically operated in the past. Falvey, GM Thad Levine and the rest of the Twins front office traded six players — Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Zach Duke, Lance Lynn, Brian Dozier and Fernando Rodney — in under two weeks when it became apparent that their postseason hopes had all but evaporated. Falvey indicated that, having previously worked under then-GM Mark Shapiro in Cleveland, dealing away short-term assets to stockpile controllable talent was “common practice” even if it’s a “departure from the norm” for Twins fans. As Zack Meisel of The Athletic recently explored, though (subscription required), such trades helped pave the way for Cleveland’s current success; the Indians acquired each of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger in exchange for a short-term veteran upgrade.
- Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press spoke with Tigers GM Al Avila about the team’s rebuilding process over the weekend. Though Avila has fully committed to a multi-year rebuild of the organization, he was not shy about expressing the difficulty he has in watching his club struggle — even if the results were largely expected. “This is why people try to avoid rebuilds,” said the GM. “Because the rebuilds are very, very tough on everybody’s mentality and psyche and they drive you crazy. I know it’s driven me crazy.” Still, Avila discussed the importance of finding reasons for optimism in the farm system and of the positive strides some prospects have made in 2018 as the team looks to the future. Fenech notes that a number of farmhands, Daz Cameron perhaps chief among them, have made encouraging strides in ’18. The interview is rife with quotes from Avila, who explained that the Tigers had little choice but to commit to a rebuild and vowed to fans that the ultimate payoff “will be worth it.”