Bryce Harper joined Ken Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, and B.J. Upton as the only 19-year-olds to bat third in a big-league game since 1980, but now he’s on the move in the Nationals’ lineup again.
Harper, who debuted as a No. 7 hitter before shifting to the No. 3 slot, is batting No. 2 tonight because Ryan Zimmerman is off the disabled list and back is his usual third spot.
Using that same since-1980 cutoff, the only previous 19-year-olds to bat second in an MLB game are Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Jones, Griffey, and Upton. Not quite as exclusive in terms of company, but Harper is once again linked with some pretty big names.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.