Chris Sale made an appearance in south side Chicago On Tuesday night, by spirit. How you ask? The Red Sox weren’t playing the White Sox, they were playing the Minnesota Twins. He wasn’t in the clubhouse cutting up jerseys he didn’t like either. There was a trade that went down in 2016 that was kind of big deal. The mystical trade I am referring to is the Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and company trade that sent Chris Sale over to Boston. At the time, it actually was a fair trade. One of baseballs best pitchers, who can handle scissors really well too, for two of baseballs top prospects. On Tuesday night, the long-awaited debut of top pitching prospect Michael Kopech was on display. Although it was for only two innings, everyone in Chicago finally got to witness Chris Sale in the form of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech on the same field for the first time since the 2016 trade went down.
Sadly, the outing was cut short by rain. However, the baseball world did get to see why he was one of baseballs top pitching prospects for the past few seasons. Kopech worked out of a first inning jam stranding runners on first and third with one out while registering his first major league strike out coming from the Dominican beast Miguel Sano. For those two innings, we could see why he is so highly touted. Firing 98 MPH fastballs on both sides of the plate along with a sharp curveball, he looked fearless in front of big league hitters. Striking out four in only two innings of work, with his last strike out coming against former AL MVP Joe Mauer. Along with White Sox fans, the baseball world wanted to see more. His next start is coming against the depleted roster of the Detroit Tigers this Sunday, which could end up like when Stephen Strasberg made his debut against the Pirates and struck out 14. If you can’t watch the game, make sure you at least watch the highlights of Kopech to see what one of baseball’s future ace’s is going to be bringing to the table in the future.
Let’s not forget about the other huge piece in the Sale trade, Yoan Moncada. Moncada is only 23 years old and is in his first full season. It is not going as planned and is leaving a lot to be desired, but the tools are as clear as day. A switch hitter with speed and pop, he is a legit 30/30 threat in the future when he puts it all together. In 2018, he is hitting a lowly .219/.301/.393 with 16 home runs and 11 stolen bases. The counting stats are there, but what most people don’t know, is he is leading the American League is strikeouts with 178. Crazy stat because as a leadoff hitter, you wouldn’t expect that. That means he strikes out in 34% of his at bats, 34!! That is more than a third of the time! Shit is crazy when you start to put the numbers together. Where’s statcast or whatever with these weird stats. Well I’m statcast right now and my evaluation of that is; that is alarming. Not enough to freak out, but just a mini freak out. Obviously he is 22, and yes the league has adapted to him in some way, but he has not made adjustments back. I believe in you live and learn and this season for Moncada is just that. In his first taste of the bigs in 2017, he showed what he is producing this year. In the minors, he has displayed why he was one of baseball top position player prospects. He will make adjustments as his career moves forward, but for now, don’t expect much from Moncada except some bombs and steals.
Of course Edward Scissorhands, AKA Chris Sale, has done what he has done his whole career and that is absolutely dominate anyone that steps in the batters box. In his first season with the Red Sox he struck out 308 batters, the first 300 strike out season for a pitcher since Clayton Kershaw did it in 2015. Along with this strike outs, he also had an ERA of 2.90 and 17 wins. Pretty damn good. In 2018, he leads the American League in WHIP sitting at .849 and already has 219 strike outs in only 146 innings of work while missing a few starts. If he were healthy this whole season, we would have got to see another 300 strike out season. With the Red Sox leading baseball in basically everything at this point, they have no reason to risk Sale and just make sure he is ready to dominate in the post season. Can’t blame em.
With 2018 kind of being a lost season from a record aspect, he White Sox future is looking brighter than it has in the past. With Moncada and Kopech both looking ready to take a step forward next season, and Eloy Jimenez waiting patiently in triple-a, the White Sox have a nice core in the coming years.