Powell: White Sox Make The Right Call By Promoting Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech #78 of the Chicago White Sox poses during MLB Photo Day on February 21, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

By Kevin Powell

Reward one of your top prospects who has done everything he possibly can to show he belongs in the majors or manipulate his service time and keep him in the minors? That’s what White Sox fans have been debating over the past month while Michael Kopech was dominating the International League.

The debate was settled Sunday afternoon when the team announced the 22-year-old would make his major league debut on Tuesday.

“Each of these decisions are motivated by what’s best in terms of putting both the organization and the individual player in the best long-term position to reach their potential,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Monday morning.

That’s all the matters: What benefits the player most in terms of long-term production?

Would keeping him in the minors to potentially prolong free agency prohibit any success he may have down the road? Maybe, maybe not. But the Sox clearly think it’s time. The man has done just about everything one can do to prove he deserves at least a promotion to the big league club.

“He’s an extremely talented kid,” Hahn said. “He’s in a great spot right now. We’re extremely excited about his future and none of that is going to change based upon one or two starts along the way. We’re keeping a long-term focus on this thing.”

One long-term focus could have simply been money and control. The other long-term focus is player growth and development. Kopech deserved to be called up. And that’s what the Sox did. There are too many factors in play to simply allow one more year of control be the only thing that dictates when you promote one of the most hyped prospects in franchise history.

On my podcast, Powell at the Park, Kopech had this to say when I asked him if it would be a letdown if he were not called up this year:

“Yea, I’d be disappointed. I know there’s an aspect of it that I don’t get to be a part of. There’s a business side of things. But I feel like I’ve done everything I need to do.

“I know I went through a stretch there where my numbers got inflated and it looked like I wasn’t ready, but I feel like I’m past that. And I’ve done as much as a I can to try and get back to normal – I feel about as confident as I can right now.”

An employer should reward employees for quality production. He deserved the call. And he got it.

“From a baseball stand point we felt like it made the most sense to get Michael (in Chicago),” Hahn said.

Over his last seven starts Kopech has gave up just nine runs while striking out 59 batters over 44 innings.

“He’s someone that the fans, and all of you, have been hoping that at some point (would) be getting (called up),” manager Rick Renteria said on Sunday. “He’s been throwing very, very well. And he’s been doing a nice job of putting himself on track. And right now the organization feels that this is the right time to allow him to make a step.”

This is a chance for Kopech to make another step. And the Sox did the right thing by calling him up.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7pm. Follow on twitter @kpowell720