Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn announced today that rookie starter Michael Kopech needs Tommy John surgery. They will get a second opinion but based on how these things go you can bet your boots that it’ll match the first. Kopech is all but certain to miss the entire 2019 season.
Kopech, who has electrifying stuff and outstanding velocity, has only made four big league starts since debuting on August 21. In that brief time there have been highs and lows, but his 15/2 K/BB ratio suggested that all of the promise he showed as a triple-digit-throwing minor leaguer was well-founded. Articles have already been written calling him not just the future but the “savior” of the White Sox franchise.
Things turned ugly on Wednesday night, however, as the Tigers torched him for seven runs on nine hits — including four home runs — over just three and a third innings. While that was, at the time, chalked up to him just not commanding his pitches, the White Sox apparently learned at some point in the last day or two that he wasn’t right, sent him for an MRI and now this terrible news.
The only saving grace on this, I suppose, is the timing. If this didn’t happen or wasn’t caught before the offseason there’s a chance it could’ve kept him out for part of 2020 too. Now, at least, a full recovery schedule will only cause him to miss on season, assuming that recovery goes well.