Powell: Spring Training Notebook — Are The White Sox Ready To Start Winning?, A Michael Kopech Update, And Cole Hamels Talks Bryce Harper And Manny Machado

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Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. Cubs Spring Training 2019. (WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

As year three of the rebuild begins, it’s easy for White Sox fans to be excited.

“I look at him as the Babe Ruth of our generation,” Michael Kopech said of teammate Eloy Jimmenez. “He’s gonna be OK.”

So how would Kopech try and get one of the most prized hitting prospects in Sox history out?

“I don’t know. I’ve seen that guy hit about everything as far as anyone can hit. I don’t know if there’s a pitch you can get by him….very smart hitter. Very well rounded when he gets to the plate. Very calm. He doesn’t seem like he’s out of place at any point no matter who’s on the mound. Very impressive to watch.”

Kopech. Eloy. Robert. Cease. Madrigal.

This list of highly talented prospects seems endless. And maybe this is the season the Sox begin to turn the corner.

“We’re about winning here,” Lucas Giolito said. “It’s not trying to win. It’s about winning now. That’s pretty much it. That’s the most fun, when you’re winning. That’s the mindset now and I’m all about it. I’m sick of losing, honestly. I’ve been losing through the minor leagues my last few years and coming up to here. I’m ready to win and for us to start winning for sure.”

The Sox are coming off a 100-loss season and they haven’t been above .500 since 2012. It’s been a rough stretch for the fan base, but the rebuild could be paying off soon.

MICHAEL KOEPCH UPDATE

“Michael is exactly where he should be right now,” Rick Hahn said at the start of camp. “As I mentioned at SoxFest, I think the biggest challenge for him is going to be sort of the mental side of it, and perhaps boredom for a lack of a better description. Physically he’s in a very good spot, mentally we’ve got to keep him in a good spot.”

Michael Kopech had this to say about grinding through the recovery of Tommy John surgery: “Just know that there’s going to be a wall. Everyone talks about a wall you hit and you feel like you can’t do any more. I just have to know there’s going to be a wall and get over it. I’m kind of taking it day by day, just trying to expect what’s to come but I’m not sure either. I feel good but I know that there will be a point where I don’t.”

Kopech has been playing catch off flat ground with about 25 throws per session.

HAMELS ON MACHADO AND HARPER

Just about everybody is sounding off on Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and another slow offseason for free agents, including Cole Hamels.

“It’s tough for baseball. I think it’s tough for the fans. We’re players and we’re blessed to be in this position. But I think before we were in this position, we were baseball fans and we understood being a fan of the city that we grew up in. We understand trying to follow and like a player, getting his jersey.

“I think there’s a benefit in building up and having those types of players. You have to have those players in the league. And I think it benefits having those guys signed early so you can build off that and market off that. I believe it’s what fans want and need. So this is tough to see. I mean it really is. There will probably be some changes in the future to make sure that everything is balanced, and everything is fair.”

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

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