Michael Kopech of the White Sox and the U.S. Team pitches in the third inning against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Getty Images)

Watching Michael Kopech pitch as good as it gets, Buddy Bell says

SHARE Watching Michael Kopech pitch as good as it gets, Buddy Bell says
SHARE Watching Michael Kopech pitch as good as it gets, Buddy Bell says

MINNEAPOLIS — Buddy Bell sized up the White Sox’ spruced-up farm system like this Tuesday: “Our games are a lot more fun to watch.’’

The Sox’ rebuild has stocked the system with high-ceiling talents such as 21-year-old right-hander Michael Kopech, acquired in the Chris Sale trade, and 20-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who was snagged from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade.

Bell, the assistant to general manager Rick Hahn and former director of player development, is with the team as it opened a three-game series against the Twins on Tuesday at Target Field, and he brought manager Rick Renteria up to speed on Kopech’s progress.

“I was telling Ricky today that if I had a chance to see one more game in my life, it would be with him on the mound,’’ Bell said. “Just his presence, the kind of teammate he is and the way he finishes innings is exceptional. But the thing I like most about him is he’s much more mature than his age. He’s way ahead of the curve.’’

Kopech, the 12th-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, in large part because of his electrifying stuff, will make his last start of the season Friday for Class AAA Charlotte.

In 119⅓ innings at Class AA Birmingham, the hard-throwing Kopech had a 3.39 ERA with 155 strikeouts. In two starts and 10 innings since his promotion to Charlotte, he has struck out 10, walked five and allowed three earned runs (2.70 ERA).

“I think he’s had enough pitches throughout the year; it’s a good time to shut him down,’’ Bell said.

Bell loves how Kopech stays aggressive with two outs.

“He just keeps going right after them,’’ he said. “He’s actually better in that situation.’’

The Sox are saying Kopech will have an opportunity to win a rotation spot next spring, but there’s also a very good possibility that they allow him to get more innings at Charlotte and bring him up mid-season.

Fall League assignments

Right-hander Dylan Covey, the Sox’ Rule 5 draft pick who has struggled in his rookie season, will return to the Arizona Fall League, it was announced Tuesday.

The Sox also will send right-handers Matt Foster and Connor Walsh, left-hander Jace Fry, catcher Seby Zavala, shortstop Danny Mendick and center fielder Tito Polo from their farm system.

Covey (0-4, 8.60 ERA) was on the disabled list from May 24 to Aug. 17 with an oblique strain.

This and that

Pitching coach Don Cooper was under the weather and not with the team but was expected back Wednesday. It’s the second game Cooper has missed because of illness. Bullpen coach Curt Hasler was in the dugout with Renteria.

◆ Jason Benetti is filling in for Ken Harrelson and paired with Steve Stone on the Sox’ TV broadcast for the three-game series in Minnesota. Benetti, who does most home games, will miss a series when the Sox host the Giants in September because of a college football obligation, and Harrelson is expected to take his place then.

◆ Proceeds from the White Sox Charities Sox Split on Saturday and Sunday will support the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts of the American Red Cross.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com


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