Okay, these past few days have been horrendous for White Sox fans, so let's try and brighten up the mood, shall we?
Losing Luis Robert for 12-16 weeks with his hip flexer injury is absolutely brutal, but the feeling fans have felt is easily comparable to what opposing hitters feel about facing Michael Kopech.
While the White Sox aim to find a replacement for Robert in the coming months, the club will lean even more on their deep pitching staff to carry the load throughout the summer, and based on Kopech's start to the 2021 season, all signs point towards a brow-raising performance.
Sox fans had an uneasy feeling after Kopech elected to sit out the shortened 2020 season for personal reasons. It was just another stack on the pile or concern after he went through Tommy John surgery. The criticism of the 25-year-old right-hander got so bad, that some fans were in favor of trading a guy who hadn't pitched in over two years.
Now, in 2021, he has become one of the team's most lethal arms in and out of the pen, and a hurler that any south sider would go to bat for.
Kopech's start to this season features a 2-0 record with a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings. Through seven games, two of them being starts, he's punched out 30 batters, which, for someone who hasn't pitched in two years, is pretty good, don't you think? The versatility that Kopech has shown in this small sample size bodes well for the White Sox. Not only has the back end of the rotation vastly improved since last year, he adds a flexible option in the pen for long relief outings or spot starts when starters can't go.
In the modern era of baseball, where pitchers are sizzling balls to the plate that mostly result in home runs or strikeouts, Kopech has gotten the better of his opponents, giving up just one home run thus far. One stat that may be overlooked with this golden arm is that, even with his time in 2018, he's only thrown 33 innings in the bigs. As time goes on, he will likely see peaks and valleys of dominance, but it is only the beginning for the Texas native.
Without a doubt, there is a plethora of recognition and hardware in his future.