Farm Report: White Sox prospect Michael Kopech is piling up Ks

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Michael Kopech has been toying with Triple-A hitters so far. (AP)
Michael Kopech has been toying with Triple-A hitters so far. (AP)

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech is no lock to have a perfectly smooth transition to the majors, whenever he arrives, but he hasn’t been challenged at Triple-A Charlotte so far this season. He struck out eight batters over 6.0 one-hit innings on Wednesday. With four starts now in the books, he has a 2.14 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 29 Ks in 21.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .189 against him.

Here’s a collection of Kopech clips, for your viewing pleasure.

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Kopech hasn’t issued more than two walks in any start this season, a promising development for a guy who walked 4.5 batters per nine innings last year at Double-A. You’re all probably well aware of his triple-digit heat and ridiculous strikeout rate (11.7 K/9 in 2017). He had a few rough moments in Cactus League play, but he’s since produced four consecutive impressive starts in the minors. Kopech remains a priority stash, particularly if your league offers an NA roster spot. He has a clear shot at fantasy relevance in the money weeks.

Braves third base prospect Austin Riley has been on a season-long tear at Double-A Mississippi, slashing .347/.402/.693 with four homers among his 15 extra-base hits. He ranks second in the Southern League in total bases (52), third in RBIs (13) and third in slugging. Riley was a beast of a hitter in the Arizona Fall League, producing a 1.021 OPS and six homers in 17 games. He’s reached the 20-homer plateau in each of the past two minor league seasons, so the power is clearly real. Although he has some swing-and-miss in his game, he did manage to reduce his K-rate last season. Riley has a relatively unobstructed path to the big leagues, whenever the organization determines he’s ready.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hasn’t exactly cooled off at Double-A New Hampshire. He has six multi-hit games in his last 10, lifting his season slash to .353/.407/.529. Vlad combines double-digit power/speed potential with phenomenal average and on-base skills; he’s a career .309/.403/.478 hitter in the minors. Last season, he finished with more walks (76) than Ks (62). He’s only 19, but it’s not crazy to expect a cameo appearance in the majors this year. Dynasty leaguers, he’s a priority acquisition.

Willy Adames has been raking at Triple-A Durham, going 9-for-16 over his last four games with two homers, six runs scored and seven RBIs. The 22-year-old shortstop delivered 45 XBHs and 11 steals for Durham last season. He’s currently hitting .355/.455/.581, which isn’t too shabby. We should see him in Tampa this year.

Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers had a five-hit game over the weekend, so he’s now hitting .299 with three homers, five doubles and two steals. He’s been a binge/bust player to this point in the season, but the kid slashed .336/.373/.567 at two minor league stops last year, hitting 18 HR in just 89 games. When he eventually arrives, he gets the Coors Field boost.

Let’s finish this thing up with one final middle infielder: Miami prospect Isan Diaz has gone 6-for-10 over his last two games at Double-A with a homer, three runs scored and four RBIs. Over Diaz’s last 10 games, he’s hitting .366. He’s an aggressive, swing-for-the-fences hitter who delivered 59 XBHs (20 HR) in the Midwest League in 2016. Diaz isn’t likely to hit for average with his present approach, but he could be a 25/10 guy down the road.

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