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All-Decade Team (2010-19): Starting Pitcher - Michael Kopech

Kopech struck-out 170 batters in 2018 with the Knights. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)
April 7, 2020

Leading into what would have been Opening Day of the 2020 season for the Charlotte Knights (April 9), the team's VP of Communications, Tommy Viola, will unveil the Charlotte Knights All-Decade Team (2010-19). Check back each weekday to see who made the team.

Leading into what would have been Opening Day of the 2020 season for the Charlotte Knights (April 9), the team's VP of Communications, Tommy Viola, will unveil the Charlotte Knights All-Decade Team (2010-19). Check back each weekday to see who made the team.

STARTING PITCHER: MICHAEL KOPECH

RHP Michael Kopech was promoted to the Charlotte Knights from Double-A Birmingham on Saturday, August 19, 2017. Two days later, the talented 21-year-old made his Triple-A debut with the team and earned his first win after five solid innings at Norfolk, VA. At the time of his promotion from Birmingham, Kopech was the number 12 prospect in Major League Baseball and the number three prospect in Chicago’s system as ranked by MLB.com.

WITH BIRMINGHAM IN 2017
Kopech posted an 8-7 record with a 2.87 ERA in 22 starts with the Double-A Barons before going to Charlotte. He had a Southern League best 155 strikeouts and also ranked first in the Southern League with a .184 batting average against.

WITH BARONS AND KNIGHTS IN 2017
Kopech went on to start three games with the Knights before the end of the 2017 season and he posted a 1-1 record with a 3.00 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 15 innings. Overall, he posted a 9-8 record with a 2.88 ERA in 25 starts combined between Birmingham and Charlotte. He struck-out 172 batters in 2017, which ranked as the fifth best mark in all of Minor League Baseball.

2017 AWARD SEASON
Kopech was a two-time White Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month and he earned the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Year Award after ranking among the league leaders in strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

2018 IN CHARLOTTE
A season later, Kopech was back with the Knights and ready to take his career to the next level. Rated as the number two prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by _Baseball America_, Kopech went 7-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 24 games (all starts) in 2018. He struck-out 170 batters over 126.1 innings pitched before being recalled to the White Sox on August 21, 2018. In April, he earned Chicago White Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors after posting a 2.14 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.

WHEN HE WAS PROMOTED TO CHICAGO
At the time of his promotion to the majors, Kopech was in the midst of solid second half campaign with the Knights. The Mount Pleasant, TX native posted a 4-0 record with a 1.84 ERA over seven starts after the 2018 All-Star Break. Over that span, Kopech posted 59 strikeouts and just four walks over 44.0 innings pitched. Since June 20 (his last 11 starts), he compiled a 5-2 record with a 2.25 ERA in 64 innings pitched with 88 strikeouts. Also at the time of his promotion, he led all of Minor League Baseball in strikeouts (170) and was tied for the International League lead in starts (24).

CHARLOTTE CAREER
In 27 starts with the Knights over parts of two seasons (2017-18), Kopech is 8-8 with a 3.63 ERA in 141.1 innings pitched. Over that span, he has compiled 187 strikeouts. His 170 strikeouts in 2018 with the Knights is the most in single-season franchise history.