Michael Kopech, RHP: 2014 MLB Draft 33th Overall

StuckOnYouk

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Kopech's ESPN write-up
 
Kopech impressed scouts after a sold showing at the Under-Armour All-American Game in Chicago last summer, although there are several red flags that could hurt his stock. His fastball sits 90-92 and will touch 94 with sink, and he also has a two-seam fastball that has quite a bit of movement at 88-90. At times his curve will be his best pitch at 74-76 with a great deal of movement, but too often there's not much depth on the pitch. Kopech will throw a change occasionally, but there's a noticeable arm speed difference and the offering doesn't even project average at this point.
While Kopech has the stuff to start, he has mechanics that scream reliever. His leg kick is very high and he often finishes off balance, and there's a considerable amount of arm wrap as well. He generally throws strikes, but it's tough to project even average command with as many mechanical flaws as Kopech has.
Kopech has two pitches that are good enough to make him a No. 3 starter or better, but without a third pitch and adjustments to the delivery he's likely to end up in the bullpen long term.
 

Hee Sox Choi

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I see what the Sox are doing... they don't want to just dominate from 2015-2021, they want to dominate from 2015-2027.  I'm on board.
 

Rasputin

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One kopech? Last week you gave me two kopechs.

I had a bad week.

So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?
 

Manramsclan

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That looks like a terrible pick to me.
 
Unless there is some gamesmanship here on the part of manipulating their draft budget.
 

The Boomer

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Kopech is unique and intriguing and, projected at #37 by Baseball America is probably not a reach.  Some very good talent will still be there when the Sox get to the end of the second round and it's likely that a lower risk college player like Papi will be there for the taking.  Here is the BA scouting report:
 
In one of the most talent-barren years in Texas in recent memory, Kopech has shown arm strength that would stand out against any crop. He had an uneven summer on the showcase circuit that ended on a high note with one of the top showings at the Under Armour All-American Game, when he struck out out Monte Harrison, Michael Gettys and Alex Jackson in succession. A loose, flexible athlete with a quick arm, Kopech showed better velocity entering the spring, going from 89-92 mph at multiple events last summer to 92-96, touching 98 this spring. The ball jumps out of his hand and gets on hitters quickly. The Arizona commit’s fastball also has plus life with cutting action and sink that will produce ground balls. Kopech has multiple breaking balls and his slider shows above-average potential. He has feel for a changeup with average potential. Kopech has a high-maintenance, rotation-heavy delivery that can be tough to repeat. He also has rigidity to the front side of his delivery. These factors cause some scouts to wonder if the delivery and strike-throwing ability will play in the rotation, though he has the stuff to do so, is an impressive athlete and has thrown strikes this spring. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Kopech has one of the best pitching bodies in the draft with wiry strength.
 

O Captain! My Captain!

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RedOctober3829 said:
Honestly Kopech screams Tommy John surgery soon. His delivery reminds me of K-Rod but obviously not as good or electric stuff. Not a fan of that pick.
 
Everybody's delivery screams TJS these days
 

Bigpupp

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Manramsclan said:
That looks like a terrible pick to me.
 
Unless there is some gamesmanship here on the part of manipulating their draft budget.
He's a legit pick there. Clean up the mechanics and he might be VERY good.
 

soxhop411

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The Boomer said:
Kopech is unique and intriguing and, projected at #37 by Baseball America is probably not a reach.  Some very good talent will still be there when the Sox get to the end of the second round and it's likely that a lower risk college player like Papi will be there for the taking.  Here is the BA scouting report:
 
In one of the most talent-barren years in Texas in recent memory, Kopech has shown arm strength that would stand out against any crop. He had an uneven summer on the showcase circuit that ended on a high note with one of the top showings at the Under Armour All-American Game, when he struck out out Monte Harrison, Michael Gettys and Alex Jackson in succession. A loose, flexible athlete with a quick arm, Kopech showed better velocity entering the spring, going from 89-92 mph at multiple events last summer to 92-96, touching 98 this spring. The ball jumps out of his hand and gets on hitters quickly. The Arizona commit’s fastball also has plus life with cutting action and sink that will produce ground balls. Kopech has multiple breaking balls and his slider shows above-average potential. He has feel for a changeup with average potential. Kopech has a high-maintenance, rotation-heavy delivery that can be tough to repeat. He also has rigidity to the front side of his delivery. These factors cause some scouts to wonder if the delivery and strike-throwing ability will play in the rotation, though he has the stuff to do so, is an impressive athlete and has thrown strikes this spring. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Kopech has one of the best pitching bodies in the draft with wiry strength.
Nice
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Bigpupp said:
He's a legit pick there. Clean up the mechanics and he might be VERY good.
As long as cleaning up the mechanics doesn't mean the stuff takes a hit.
 

LogansDad

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BosRedSox5 said:
It looks like he's throwing a whiffleball. Look at the break on that. 
Yeah that is nasty stuff.  Hopefully his arm stays in tact enough that they can fix it when it inevitably blows.
 
I can definitely see why they say his mechanics are tough to repeat.... that is a lot of body movement to keep under control.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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The Boomer said:
Kopech is unique and intriguing and, projected at #37 by Baseball America is probably not a reach.  Some very good talent will still be there when the Sox get to the end of the second round and it's likely that a lower risk college player like Papi will be there for the taking.  Here is the BA scouting report:
 
*snip*
Kopech has shown arm strength that would stand out against any crop.
 
*snip*
A loose, flexible athlete with a quick arm, Kopech showed better velocity entering the spring, going from 89-92 mph at multiple events last summer to 92-96, touching 98 this spring. The ball jumps out of his hand and gets on hitters quickly.
 
*snip*
...is an impressive athlete and has thrown strikes this spring. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Kopech has one of the best pitching bodies in the draft with wiry strength.
 
 
Bigpupp said:
He's a legit pick there. Clean up the mechanics and he might be VERY good.
 
Touches 98... all elbows and knees... throws strikes... I like it.  Don't have enough flamethrowers in the system for my taste.
 

VBSoxFan

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Yaz4Ever said:
Has the third hitter in the scouting video above ever batted before or is Kopech that good?  He looked completely lost.
 
That looks like Wrigley field, so this may be the Under Armour All-American game referred to upthread. If so, then yes, Kopech may be that good.
 

steveluck7

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VBSoxFan said:
 
That looks like Wrigley field, so this may be the Under Armour All-American game referred to upthread. If so, then yes, Kopech may be that good.
Or he was pitching against the Cubs in which case,the question is valid
 

Puffy

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Yaz4Ever said:
Has the third hitter in the scouting video above ever batted before or is Kopech that good?  He looked completely lost.
 
The third hitter, I believe, was Alex Jackson, the #6 overall pick (Mariners) and the top high school bat in the draft. Whiffed him on three straight sliders.
 

Drek717

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Yaz4Ever said:
Has the third hitter in the scouting video above ever batted before or is Kopech that good?  He looked completely lost.
I believe the 3rd hitter was Alex Jackson, #6 overall selection by the Seattle Mariners last night and considered by some the best hitting high schooler in the entire draft class.
*edit*damn you Puffy!  I get distracted by work and find my first sentence rendered completely redundant.
 
Here's my question: So Kopech has a freaky delivery, granted, but do you make him change it?  If it works and he's generating both the velocity and movement he's reported to be showing currently (94-96 with the ability to touch 98, sick break on his pitches) I'd rather they left him alone and see how well he does with the current throwing motion.  It isn't orthodox but he doesn't look wildly out of control and the arm snap doesn't look significantly more traumatic than your average 90+ MPH thrower.
 
Rebuilding the mechanics is something I'd save for the rehab process following his first Tommy John, if that is ever even needed.  Otherwise let the kid chuck it how it feels natural and work on helping him develop his secondary arsenal.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I don't see much in that delivery that adds more stress than other deliveries, the thing you worry about is repeating it and commanding the strike zone.

I see a lot of Scott Sheilds in that motion. Take that fwiw.

He's got a really nice soft landing before extending his land foot on the follow though and his shoulder plane is pretty much textbook.

I think the leg kick and loading of the back leg are really throwing people off regarding his mechanics.
 

smastroyin

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I think they will probably clean up the slide he does with the plant foot if they can.  It seems pretty dramatic.  I think over the course of a start as fatigue sets in he will have trouble both planting and landing in a consistent location which will throw off his command no matter what the rest of this body is doing.  Other than that, I agree on his mechanics.
 

Ed Hillel

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I was most impressed with the movement on his 2-seamer. That was nasty. Combined with the hook and slider, that's a lot of movement in different directions for a batter to deal with.
 
Or maybe it was just a hard changeup? I'm talking about the pitch at 40 seconds. He doesn't deaden his back leg, which usually happens with changeups, but there does appear to be some velocity dropoff. Can't tell if it's a 2-seamer or change.
 

OnWisc

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It's like watching a Rube Goldberg machine pitch.  But seems tough to argue with what the ball does once it leaves his hand.
 

finnVT

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Without professing any knowledge on pitching mechanics, I'd bet at least part of the decision on whether to change things up is whether they think he can develop a strong 3rd pitch from his mechanics without needing to alter arm speed, etc (and tipping the pitch), as was pointed out as a concern somewhere earlier.  If they think his current mechanics are really only capable of producing two good pitches, I'd have to think they try to tweak things to find something that works better for 3+ pitches.
 

VBSoxFan

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I also don't have a lot of knowledge of pitching mechanics, but one other consideration would be his effectiveness pitching from a stretch. If he needs the big leg kick to generate velocity and movement, that may result in lots of stolen bases.
 

Cumberland Blues

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smastroyin said:
I think they will probably clean up the slide he does with the plant foot if they can.  It seems pretty dramatic.  I think over the course of a start as fatigue sets in he will have trouble both planting and landing in a consistent location which will throw off his command no matter what the rest of this body is doing.  Other than that, I agree on his mechanics.
 
Yeah - that slide was the thing that jumped out at me too.  The way he pauses after the slide before the leg kick, it looks like he's checking to see if his foot's in the right place before he continues. 
 

Manramsclan

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Bigpupp said:
He's a legit pick there. Clean up the mechanics and he might be VERY good.
 
Honestly, I have no idea what I am talking about in this instance.
 
 After reading more on him I see the potential. I keyed in on "bullpen arm" his initial description. He looks to have a higher ceiling than that.
 
I am wary of the idea of "cleaning up" mechanics, however. Since we've seen in the past that there is a potential to lose some stuff with those types of adjustments, and that there is seemingly no way to predict pitcher injury (other than "They will ALL get injured") doesn't it seem that leaving these guys alone is the best course of action?
 

smastroyin

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It's not necessarily about avoiding injury, it's about the ability to throw strikes to a higher level of competition.
 

Bigpupp

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smastroyin said:
It's not necessarily about avoiding injury, it's about the ability to throw strikes to a higher level of competition.
Right. And apparently there were a few scouts that had him at 100 earlier in the year. With his kind of stuff, he can afford to lose a little bit to help him become more consistent.
 

mwonow

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Cross-posting Snod's post from elsewhere in the mlf:
 
 

Snodgrass'Muff said:
BA published a "Just missed the top 100" piece back on February 20th and while I'm pretty sure it's behind a paywall, I thought I'd link it and mention the Sox players included.
 
http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/ask-ba-missed-top-100/
 
Matt Barnes, Garin Cecchini, Michael Chavis, Edwin Escobar, Michael Kopech, Deven Marrero, and Wendell Rijo all received consideration for the top 100.