The Boston Red Sox made a splash in December when they traded for Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, adding arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball to a staff that already boasts David Price and 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. And though Boston baseball’s Big 3 are sure to make headlines all season long, it’s a pitcher who was traded for Sale who has become the talk of the off-season.
Michael Kopech, currently the No. 3-ranked prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, possesses a 96-98-mph fastball when he’s throwing off the mound and reportedly hit 105 mph (!) during a start last season. He struck out 86 batters in just 12 starts in 2016, over seven strikeouts per game. But what’s blowing people away is his off-season work heading into the 2017 season.
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Testing his arm with a max-velocity throw for the first time this off-season, Kopech hit a ridiculous mark of 110 mph not once, but twice. Sure, he threw an unloaded baseball, and yes, he used a crow-hop and didn’t throw off a mound, but you don’t hit a mark that high without possessing otherworldly talent and ability.
Losing Chris Sale hurts, but acquiring a pitcher with such a rocket arm should heal the wounds in Chicago fairly quickly.