Slow day on the internet streets today, and the White Sox are coming off an ugly loss to the Red Sox with their ace on the mound. Truthfully, I wasn't too upset with yesterday's game. That was Lucas Giolito on the mound. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. Shit happens. He didn't have his typical command and the Red Sox came into the game with an awesome plan of attack against him. He'll get back to the drawing board and go on a run in his next start and beyond. Shake it off, it happens to everyone. There's a lot to like about this team right now and a lot to dislike.
One thing we can all agree on is Michael Kopech looks ready to be a star. 90% of the questions that hit my inbox were asking about him:
I absolutely believe we will see Kopech in the rotation this year. I'd imagine he has a regular season innings cap of about 150 and once they know they can start him every 5th day, they'll transition him into the rotation. I'm not gonna do the math, but I would imagine he'll get about 50 innings in relief and 100 as a starter, and those innings as a starter will come sometime in late June/Early July.
I see it as a best case/worst case scenario:
1. Cease turns a corner and becomes the awesome SP his shit suggests he can be while Rodon simultaneously continues to dominate. That leaves Gio, Lynn and Keuchel at the top of the rotation with the former 2 rounding it out. That means there's a competition in season for that 5th spot and whoever loses out on it becomes a lethal weapon in the bullpen. Good problem to have.
2. Cease continues to struggle getting into the 6th and 7th inning and Kopech takes the ball every 5th day out of necessity, not out of luxury. In this case, depth is affected which is no bueno and chances are you're not comfortable giving the ball to whoever lost his rotation spot to Kopech in relief anyways.
Nevertheless, the kid looks fantastic. He looks like he could be the very best pitcher on this staff, even better than Gio. That's high, high praise.
Look at this GIF:
You see what that is? That's me calling my shot for Team Chicago in the trivia competition. I guarantee we win the whole thing and that I personally will bring nothing but grade A entertainment to the masses during the tournament. That's not a promise, that's a fucking fact.
It's a combo of April arm and the White Sox telling him to tone it down a hair. I think. I hope. He's (obviously) near unhittable when he's at 100+, but he also has a full 162 game season in front of him, so I'd rather have him 97 now and 102 in June than the inverse. I do think he'll get stronger as the season rolls on.
As for who gets the axe for Engel - it's gotta be lamb. The White Sox would be admitting stupidity in sending Vaughn down. Their attempts at extending him throughout the offseason and not signing another DH a la Nelson Cruz shows they thought he was ready, and if they send him down it would be a BAD look for them, and that's in spite of what Yermin is doing right now. Nobody on earth thought Mercedes would be playing like an MVP. It's great that he is, but it's definitely a surprise.
Engel is best deployed as a 4th OF/platoon anyways. He's turned into a great piece, but that's how the sox would best take advantage of his skillset. I'd like to see him platoon with Eaton and have Vaughn be the every day LF personally. Doubt that happens, but that's how I'd roll. Vaughn is going to be a stud - that's another fact. It's taking a minute but I think he takes off soon.
I absolutely won the dog walk draft yesterday. Hooters, Fogo, Lou Mal's, Capital Grille and OCB? That's murderer's row right there.
See above for Kopech, but as for Eloy… no idea. I am confident in saying Yermin's approach will translate to success over the full season, but no idea how you can fit all three on the 26 man roster. That's another good problem to have. Maybe they look to package one of them with Cease for a superstar on a scrub team? No clue, but they're going to have a big time roster crunch when he's ready to come back.
I do think the White Sox mental mistakes that we saw in the first week are gonezo. I said this when those mistakes were going down, but they were doing stupid shit I'd yell at HS kids for doing back when I was coaching. Haven't noticed many recently, which is good.
And yeah, the White Sox have gotten everyone at their best so far. Ironically enough, nobody really thought the Red Sox, mariners, royals and to a (much) further extent Angels would be any good this year. Not bad, but nobody thought those teams were winning their divisions or anything. So far those teams have all played over their heads. It's not who you play, it's when you play them. So far the sox have caught everybody at their best, which sucks. That'll even out though.
Moncada is on thin ice with me, and not necessarily because of how he's played so far, but because he seems so lacks and fireless. It drives me crazy. He has louder tools than 99% of players in baseball. He needs to play like the stud he was in 2019. Covid is no longer a legit excuse for him (and I didn't think it was last year, but that's a different story). I have noticed that he's attacking pitches in the zone earlier in the count and fouling pitches off while putting good passes on the ball, which is a good thing. Hopefully he gets hot soon.
And no, I'm not worried about Abreu. He's always sucked in April. He'll be fine. Get him 80 degree weather and he'll be typical Jose.
Yep, that's it. Let's take 2 from Cleveland, go home and dominate this upcoming home stand.