White Sox Minor Keys: Aug. 16, 2018

At this point, it’s really no longer worth covering Michael Kopech starts in depth, because he’s already proven ready for a big-league debut.

Kopech struck out nine Louisville Bats over six innings of one-run ball on Thursday night. He now has a 1.84 ERA with 59 strikeouts to four walks over his last seven starts, which span 44 innings. Josh’s Twitter feed is littered with highlights, but he can really only change his evaluations in negative ways from here.

For instance, flirting with a brawl in the fourth inning with this HBP.

The plunked batter was Brian O’Grady, who was the lone Bat who lived up to his team’s name against Kopech. He dropped a bunt single on Kopech’s first pitch of the second inning, stole second on the second pitch of the inning, then came around to score the lone run on Kopech’s tab. The next time up he was plunked on the first pitch.

It might’ve gone unnoticed had Kopech not had an unusual reaction to fielding O’Grady’s bunt.

Instead, he built up enough circumstantial evidence for benches to clear, and even Charlotte’s broadcasters speculated that it looked intentional. The Knights did not make Kopech available after the game, which doesn’t make him look less guilty.

Kopech picked off O’Grady and got out of the inning with no further drama, and then he later escaped a bases-loaded jam, so he regained his composure within the start. Still, when he’s this close to the big leagues, it doesn’t serve his purpose to give management these kinds of moments to point to.

I suppose it’s better that he had this moment in the minors. After watching the aftermath of Jose Ureña intentional drilling of Ronald Acuña Jr., it’s an especially poor time to make that kind of first impression.

Charlotte 9, Louisville 4

  • Charlie Tilson went 0-for-3 with two walks and two strikeouts.
  • Eloy Jimenez went 1-for-5.
  • Jose Rondon fell a triple short of the cycle during a 3-for-4 night.
  • Seby Zavala walked once, struck out thrice and was caught stealing.
  • Michael Kopech: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HBP
  • Ian Hamilton: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Tennessee 11, Birmingham 1

  • Luis Alexander Basabe went 2-for-4 with a double and a strikeout.
  • Danny Mendick singled, walked and struck out twice.
  • Alex Call went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Jameson Fisher, 0-for-3.
  • Ian Clarkin started a bullpen day and survived control issues: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP
  • Ian Hamilton: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Buies Creek 5, Winston-Salem 2

  • Luis Gonzalez went 1-for-3.
  • Nick Madrigal, 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Blake Rutherford was 2-for-4 with a strikeout, and was caught stealing.
  • Luis Robert went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Gavin Sheets, 1-for-3 with a double, walk and strikeout.
  • Lincoln Henzman: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
  • Tyler Johnson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Kannapolis 10, Augusta 1

  • Luis Curbelo went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
  • Steele Walker had his first dynamic game: 2-for-4 with a walk and three stolen bases.
  • Justin Yurchak went 2-for-4 with a double.

DSL White Sox 7, DSL Orioles 1

  • Sidney Pimentel struck out in his only trip to the plate.
  • Harold Diaz went 2-for-4 with two doubles.
  • Jose Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with a triple and an HBP.
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ParisSox

This is getting ridiculous Hahn.  Bring up Kopech and Eloy and give us fun baseball to watch already.  I’d throw Hamilton into the mix too.   

GreatjonHumber

Wasting a year of control on 4 or 5 meaningless starts in a lost season is what is ridiculous. 

roke1960

What is ridiculous is a system that rewards you for keeping your best players in the minors. Anyone who thinks that Kopech and Eloy and possibly Hamilton are not major leaguers is either stupid or named Rick Hahn.

GreatjonHumber

Hahn doesn’t think they aren’t ready. He just doesn’t want to spend $60 million dollars for no reason. 

roke1960

How is that spending $60 million dollars for no reason????

roke1960

So how long do you wait? Why bring them up next year? Why not wait until all the prospect are ready to maximize each one? Can’t you see how ridiculous that is?

roke1960

It will be worth a long strike to fix this deeply flawed system. This is an absolute joke.

GreatjonHumber

You wait until the date in 2019 at which they will accumulate fewer than 172 service days for the 2019 season – a couple weeks in.

NDSox12

How did you come up with that $60M figure?

GreatjonHumber

Conservatively estimating the amount of money it would take to replace Kopech and Eloy’s production on the open market in 2026. Hopefully will be more like 100MM.

roke1960

Worrying about 2026 in 2019 is what is wrong with this system.

GreatjonHumber

Nevertheless, it’s the system we are in. The Cubs had to make the same decision in 2014 with Kris Bryant. Do you think they or their fans will regret it in 2021? Or Astros fans in 2020 with George Springer?

I thought we wanted to stop making short-sighted moves and approach building a team with an actual plan in mind.

Marty34

Seems like the plan was instituted after the rebuild, see Moncada.

PauliePaulie

STRETCH!

roke1960

How many extra fans would be in attendance tonight and the rest of this homestand (and how much extra revenue generated) if Eloy and kopech made their debuts this weekend (or a month ago)? There are so many pissed off fans now because they are being lied to by management. And if Hahn is doing this with 2026 in mind, he probably won’t be here then. Of course with Jerry’s blind loyalty, even he can survive 10 years of .431 baseball.

GreatjonHumber

2,000?

Marty34

TV ratings, goodwill, increased media coverage. Things a dying franchise could use an infusion of.

roke1960

You are so right. This is a dying franchise and it is a laughingstock. They need a lot of goodwill right now to bring the fans back. Because without the fans, the rebuild means nothing.

NDSox12

Okay, but to compute how much money would be “saved” by waiting until early 2019 to promote them, you also have to consider what those guys would be making in 2026 through arbitration. If their combined production is worth $60M+/year, their salaries will reflect that to a significant degree. For example, Bryce Harper is making over $21M this year.

I get the arguments in favor of getting an extra year of service. But not as a significant money saving technique.

GreatjonHumber

Right, I’m assuming something line 25MM arb vs 50-60MM free agent salary for elite players in 7 years.

Josh Nelson

There’s far too many fans who are confident Hahn is going to be calling the shots in 2025.

As a reminder, in the six years Hahn has been the GM, the White Sox winning percentage is .431. GMs, no matter how loyal their owners are, don’t last very long with a .431 winning percentage in their tenure.

GreatjonHumber

Whoever it is can send Hahn a gift basket.

PauliePaulie

Maybe a strike in ’21 could push back their FA clocks all the way to ’26.

Josh Nelson

Let me know when that water gets heavy.

GreatjonHumber

I don’t even think Hahn is good. This isn’t a “look how smart I’m being” decision, it’s a normal GM decision.

yinkadoubledare

Derek Jeter already owns the Marlins, I don’t think they’ll allow him to be our GM too

PauliePaulie

Yeah, Jeets!

Lurker Laura

It’s not just the starts this year. The Sox will have to come up with bald-faced lies to keep all three in Charlotte for 2-3 weeks to start next year, too. 

Marty34

The other thing is Hahn shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt if Kopech starts out slowly like he has with Moncada. No growing pains excuse for Kopech because he spent this extra time in the minors. Really puts the kid in a tough spot.

ParisSox

This.  Making those starts in MLB now instead of in 2019 is a great time to learn at the MLB level.  It could at least make 2919 more interesting if Kopech and Eloy got the jitters and learning experiences out of the way now.  

Marty34

They are basically punting what little hope there was for 2019 by keeping these guys in the minors. Probably foreshadows them sitting on the sidelines during free agency as well.

roke1960

You got that right. They’ll use the lame excuse for not spending money this winter as we’re not ready to win yet. Go back to when the Sale and Eaton trades were made, and the talk was to have the window starting to open in 2019. Now it’s 2020. Soon it will be 2021. They are just spitting in the fans’ face, because they are so damn cheap.

Marty34

It was one thing to be the cheap and shortsighted franchise they have been under JR when their “business partner” the Trib owned the Cubs. Ricketts ain’t playing nice and coupled with JR’s unwillingness to compete with the Cubs has pushed this franchise back to the stone age.

sgp2204

I find it funny how people say “just wait until next year” and expect everything to go perfectly. Playing at the MLB level IS part of their development. Not every star prospect comes up and hits the ground running. I’d much rather have them come up right now, learn at the MLB level for a month+, and be ready to go for the start of 2019. 

If you’re that worried about paying these guys in 2026 or whatever it is, just try to sign them to an early extension now. If that doesn’t work, try paying them when they become free agents. It’s not like the Sox are burning through all of their cash right now. 

35Shields

You’d think that the “Playing at the MLB level IS part of their development” would be obvious to fans given that Moncada and Lopez have both been worse than replacement level since the ASG and Giolito has been worse for the whole year.

Marty34

How long would Moncada have to stay in the minors next year to gain a year of service time on him? I don’t think he should be guaranteed a job heading into spring training.

mikeyb

That’s some bush league shit and how you get a teammate injured. Kopech has been hiding his inner Chris Sale pretty well for a while (it’s been a couple years since he injured himself fighting!); hopefully somebody is in his ear to cut this nonsense out.

Of course, kind of tough to act like you’re giving him advice that’s in his best interest when the rest of your organization’s actions clearly aren’t in his best interest.

Marty34

Kopech is cocksure on the mound that’s a very good thing. As far as retaliating against his teammates goes, I think his 99 mph fastball will serve as a pretty good insurance policy for Jimenez in the coming years.

ForsterFTOG

A pitcher plunked someone. Oh, the humanity.

Jason.Wade17

Pretty good night for Hamilton pitching for both the Knights and the Barons.

All jokes aside, these Madrigal strikeouts have got to stop.

phillyd

Ian Hamilton, well-traveled thrower of projectiles.

PauliePaulie

There was zero good reason for Kopech to be starting that game.
Completely understandable for a player who has done everything he possibly can to earn a promotion reach this level of frustration. You could hear it in the interview Josh linked the other day.
This is on management.

Marty34

It really puts a damper on this rebuild. As I’ve said before it’s also a kick in the teeth to the season ticketholders.

PauliePaulie

Does Super 2 really save any $ over starting the clock now?
Wouldn’t the extra arb year mean they save zero $ but gain extra control?

roke1960

Management is being completely disingenuous. You gotta know their agents will remember this down the line. This is a major screw-up on management’s part.

Lurker Laura

I also believe this will leave lingering bad feelings, not just among Elopech and Sox, but all players who’ve been denied the majors in this way. Work Stoppage 2021, here we come.

35Shields

Super two is no longer relevant to these promotion decisions unless the FO plans to keep Kopech and Eloy down until next June

PauliePaulie

My question is: if the Sox bring them up now, they are FA’s after 2024 with 3 arb years. If the Sox wait until next April, they will not be FA’s until 2025, BUT they will be Super 2’s and get a 4th arb year. Doesn’t that extra arb year mean the Sox save no $, they simply gain more control?

GreatjonHumber

Arbitration is always less than what players would earn on the free market. for example, Kris Bryant got a little less than $11 million this year.

PauliePaulie

My question has nothing to do with the free market. I’m asking about what they will make during their stay with the Sox.

GreatjonHumber

Machado has made about $30 million in 3 years of (avoiding) arbitration (5/11.5/16). But the amounts are increasing – Bryant signed for $11MM in year 1 of Arb this year.

PauliePaulie

Do Super 2 players make more in pre-free agent earnings than players who do not qualify for Super 2 status?

GreatjonHumber

Yes, arbitration is more than minimum scale even though it’s less than FA money – Super 2s get 4 years of Arb instead of 3.

karkovice squad

There’s also a compounding effect for the extra arb year. I haven’t seen a more recent analysis but it’s something like $10-15m across pre-free agent seasons.

But even so, the delayed arrival to free agency has a bigger impact on suppressing a player’s earnings than the extra arb year has on increasing them.

35Shields

To clarify, you’re asking if calling them up now would cause them to earn more in arb between 2022-2024, right?

I guess the answer would probably be yes. If we called them up now, they’d have ~3 1/3 seasons of service time instead of ~2 5/6 seasons. Service time is definitely a consideration in arb earnings. So it’d probably make some difference but you could probably expect that difference to be pretty small.

All in all, I think it’d be hard to imagine the service time difference to contribute to more than an extra $5m per player between 2022-2024.

karkovice squad

They’d be compared against players who were also called up this season. It wouldn’t really help their case at arb because those players probably accumulated more service time.

It’s really all about delaying when they hit free agency.

Josh Nelson

Looks who is back

GreatjonHumber

At first I thought this was the Sox lineup and was like “man that looks dire even by 2018 standards.”

NDSox12

Has Eloy been spotted in Charlotte to confirm this is just a day off, or should we start tracking CLT->ORD flights?

PauliePaulie

I’m tired of the Elopech to Bryant comparisons. The Cubs, rightly, received a lot of backlash from the media, agents and Bryant in 2015. And what they did was not nearly this agregious.
Bryant had zero AB’s above A+ before ’14.(Springer is a similar story) He had 29% K rate in AAA in 2014.
Eloy made AA last year, and Kopech got to AAA. Also, neither is showing those types of struggles.

Lurker Laura

Exactly. Bryant had a ridiculous spring training in 2015, which is why it was absurd to send him down. But it was ST, so there was (minimal) justification. Elopech are having ridiculous seasons, about two years in a row now.

GreatjonHumber

Bryant hit 295/418/619 in AAA in 2014. He wasn’t working on anything.

Lurker Laura

His hold-down was ridiculous, too.

GreatjonHumber

Yes it was. And nobody in the Cubs organization or fanbase regrets it now except for Kris Bryant, who’s a grownup and knows how the CBA works.

roke1960

I’m sick of comparing this to Bryant. The Cubs’ fan base is much larger than the Sox’ base. The Sox can’t afford to lose many more fans. But it looks like they don’t care, so that they can save money in 2026.

Trooper Galactus

I really don’t understand why any White Sox fan would equate the two sitations at all.

Lurker Laura

He was. Usually, I try not to get sucked into it. Lost myself today. Talking about the 40-man is better. Peace out! 

roke1960

So instead of Eloy hitting 6th, Kopech pitching tomorrow night and Ian Hamilton trying to shut the door in the 9th, we’ll have to suffer yet again with Nicky Delmonico leading off, Covey starting, and Ricky trying to mix and match some undesirable parts to finish off the game. The fans are so sick of this. And if you’re not, you aren’t a fan of the Sox. You’re a fan of the endless rebuild.

Marty34

This is the absolute truth.

GoGoSoxFan

My head hurts after reading this thread.

roke1960

My head hurts following this pathetic team and lying front office. We deserve better.

roke1960

If we are comparing the Sox situation to the Cubs with Kris Bryant, in 2014 the Cubs went 73-89 and then added Jon Lester, Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero thru free agency and gained 24 wins to make the playoffs. They also added rookies Kris Bryant and Addison Russell early on, then Kyle Schwarber by midseason. So if the Sox are going to add Eloy, Kopech and Hamilton early in the season, and likely others by midseason, do you think they will actually spend $200 million like the Cubs did in the offseason. I don’t think that anyone who watched the Cubs in 2014 thought they would make the NLCS the next year, but Theo spent big money to supplement his young guys. Oh yeah, and he replaced manager Rick Renteria with Joe Maddon. Do you think the Sox will do that? That’s the Cubs comparison we need to make.

gogosox21

The 2014 Cubs had a lot more positive developements when you look at their roster though. Hendricks, Arrieta, and Hammel were all looking like they would have some place in the rotation (Arrieta obviously blew up the next year). They already had a star in Rizzo and guys like Coghlan and Castro. They had some things to build on where it made sense. Not saying it was an obvious NLCS team but you could certainly squint and see it after the signings they made.

Most of us were hoping this year would be the year we start to see things on the MLB roster but Lopez, Giolito, and Moncada have all somewhat struggled and there hasn’t been any positive suprises other than Rodon’s step forward To me that means next year will be our win 70 to 80 games year where things start building and then you sign big names going in to 2020. Yeah that sucks but I don’t think Hahn went into this year saying Kopech and Eloy won’t come up period but the way things have gone means it makes the most sense. I think the people saying the White Sox are lying to their fans are a little bit over the top at this point but thats just my opinion

jose robcada

not saying i disagree that eloy and kopech deserve to be promoted but have u seen the schedule we have for the rest of the season? honestly the competetion in AAA cant be that much worse than them playing vs royals tigers orioles and twins the rest of this season… thus makes mlb development mute and might as well wait til next year… kopech and eloy should be promoted but these teams dont have real mlb lineups anyways so i dont see the point