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Kopech opts out of 2020 season

No. 3 White Sox prospect has not pitched since 2018
Michael Kopech pitched for the White Sox in the instructional league last fall in Arizona. (Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)
@AndrewAtBatt
July 10, 2020

It's been two years since Michael Kopech pitched in an official game, but White Sox fans will have to wait a while longer to see the team's third-ranked prospect. The hard-throwing right-hander has opted out of playing this season, general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement Friday. “Michael Kopech

It's been two years since Michael Kopech pitched in an official game, but White Sox fans will have to wait a while longer to see the team's third-ranked prospect.

The hard-throwing right-hander has opted out of playing this season, general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement Friday.

“Michael Kopech has informed us of his decision to not participate in the 2020 season," Hahn said. "We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech initially was included on the team's 60-player roster pool but has decided to forgo playing this season due to "personal reasons," according to multiple reports. MLB.com reports Kopech will not receive pay or accrue service time.

MLB Pipeline's No. 20 overall prospect ascended through the Minor Leagues with an 80-grade fastball that regularly hit triple digits and a slider that had wipeout ability.

After 141 1/3 innings and 187 strikeouts with Triple-A Charlotte over a season-plus in the International League, Kopech made his Major League debut on Aug. 21, 2018 and made four starts before injuring his elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery a month after his first start.

The 24-year-old pitched in the White Sox instructional league program last fall and struck out one in a perfect inning in his lone Cactus League appearance this spring, hitting 100 mph on the radar gun multiple times before getting optioned to Triple-A in late March.

Acquired from the Red Sox in December 2016 in the blockbuster Chris Sale trade, Kopech has a 3.05 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 514 strikeouts across 395 2/3 Minor League innings. He was selected 33rd overall in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt.