Minnesota Twins fans can take a breath: top White Sox prospect Michael Kopech opts out of the season due to personal reasons.
The Minnesota Twins are looking to repeat as American League Central Division champions in 2020, and the road back there just got slightly easier. Michael Kopech, the Chicago White Sox top pitching prospect, has opted out of the 2020 season:
The Minnesota Twins largest competitors for the division crown is the Cleveland Indians, but with a much improved roster, the Chicago White Sox are in line to improve greatly in 2020, and I think they’ll be contenders.
That being said, losing Kopech is a huge blow to the White Sox’ playoff hopes. Starting pitching is the team’s number one weakness, with a solid lineup and bullpen supported by young prospects finally coming around.
Kopech was supposed to help ease those rotation woes. As a former Top 10 MLB prospect, he’s been on the rise and made his MLB debut in 2018 before missing 2019 for Tommy John Surgery. He was still throwing 100 after his surgery however, so he doesn’t appear to have lost his stuff, but a second straight year without baseball won’t be kind.
I projected Kopech as joining the rotation later in the year when breaking down the White Sox in April, but without him the White Sox will have to rely on lesser options such as Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez to pick up the slack.
This is important to Twins fans as this is the first player in the American League Central to opt out and a big name for a division rival to lose. It’s not necessarily something to celebrate, but Kopech should be respected for the move.
He’s also far from alone. Kopech joins big name players like David Price, Felix Hernandez, Ryan Zimmerman, and Buster Posey to all opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 or other personal reasons. Here’s the most recently updated list of players to opt out: