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.
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.