Red Sox excited about Kopech's 'electric arm'

Red Sox excited about Kopech's 'electric arm'
June 6, 2014, 1:15 pm
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You wanted a power pitcher, you got a power pitcher.

Meet Michael Kopech, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-handed pitcher from Mt. Pleasant HS, Tex. The Red Sox drafted him in Thursday's MLB Draft with the 33rd pick.

Kopech can already touch the mid-90's with his fastball, and follows that up with a curveball that has some experts very impressed.

In today's day and age, young pitchers are going down with serious elbow injuries more than ever. It's important that they don't over-pitch at a young age, whether that be at the high school or collegiate level.

The Red Sox front office and scouts clearly didn't see any red flags involving Kopech, his workload, or his delivery - although his delivery is a bit unique.

"It's typical workload for a normal high school pitcher" Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Amiel Sawdaye said. "He's an athletic two-way player that swung the bat but that also was out there. Typically the way you look at these high school pitchers, they go out there, they're usually going about seven innings, not wasting a lot of pitches because he has premium stuff and struck a lot of guys out. I think he threw somewhere around 60-something innings which isn't atypical for a high school pitcher.

"As far as the mechanics, he's got an electric arm, we really like the way he commands his fastball. The delivery kind of reminds us a little bit, he's got a little Jered Weaver in it. We've been scouting this guy for about two years, so I think people that saw him in the Under Armour game could see how he commanded his fastball an commanded his secondary pitches. Obviously we're really excited to get him out and watch him develop.

Sawdaye said there were no pitchers in either round that mechanics-wise caused them to pass.

Here's what Baseball Prospectus said about Kopech last year:

Kopech throws with a loose, whippy arm and creates good deception with his mechanics, making it difficult for hitters to pick up his pitches until late in their path. His four-seamer sat 91-93 mph out of the full windup and his two-seamer in the 89-91 mph range; each pitch drops one to two miles per hour out of the stretch.

Kopech’s breaking ball is an 11-to-5 mid-70s curve that comes out of the same slot as his fastball, proving most difficult for hitters to ID. He showed an ability to draw swings out of the zone as well as to drop the breaker in for a strike, and the pitch was generally consistent in shape and execution. Kopech’s third offering was an upper-70s changeup that he threw with some feel, though the pitch is still in its early stages. Kopech projects well physically and could gain velocity over the next 12 months.

At 195 pounds, Kopech will fill out a bit. He could up the speed of his fastball even more in the minors, and obviously develop his secondary stuff more. The Sox were clearly thrilled he was there, not caring about the fact that he was out of high school - the second high school player they took that night. It was simple for them - he was the best player available.

"I think it's something we say all the time and I think I said it on the phone call before the draft: We take the best player on the board," Sawdaye said. "And if the two best players are a high school pitcher and a high school middle infielder (Michael Chavis), then that's who we're going to take. So, we're not looking to diversify or draft for need. It so happened those were the next two players, those were players we were really excited about, had a lot of conviction on, scouted for a long time, had a lot of history with. So that's kind of how it shook out."