White Sox manager praises Michael Kopech’s Charlotte outing, preaches patience

The anticipation for Michael Kopech’s arrival on the South Side rises with every strike he throws, and during his first outing of the season for Class AAA Charlotte on Monday, Kopech threw quite a few.

Kopech pitched four strong innings at Harbor Park against the Orioles’ Norfolk Tides, striking out eight and walking two. He allowed two hits in a scoreless 77-pitch outing.

“He threw well, it was a nice outing,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “He just threw four but everything, like the report said, looked very good.”

But just as eagerly as fans may be asking when Kopech will be making his Sox debut, Renteria is asking that everyone remains patient and trusts the process.

White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech participates in a drill at the team's spring training baseball facility Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

“It’s really important,” Renteria said of Kopech continuing his development in the minor leagues. “It’s about trying to get them innings, trying to make sure they feel comfortable with the pitches they are supposed to be trying to command.”

Renteria has stressed that Kopech has good command of his fastball, that’s certainly no issue for the hard-throwing righty, but building on his breaking ball and adding another secondary pitch is key to Kopech having a successful run in the majors.

“The changeup is a pitch we really need for him to continue to develop,” Renteria said. “The more game time he has with it, the more usage he has with it, the more comfortable he is going to be,”

“Nobody’s been hiding that we’ve been working on him trying to work on his changeup to develop the pitch as a secondary pitch beyond his breaking ball.”

It’s particularly refreshing to see Kopech have such success in his first outing with Charlotte after a rough spring training. In four Cactus League starts, Kopech had an 11.57 ERA in seven innings. Most of that damage came in his final two outings, after not allowing an earned run in 4.1 innings over his first two starts.