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Eager for Majors, Kopech gets first glimpse

Prospect visits Guranteed Rate Field fresh off White Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month honor
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech is eager to be part of the White Sox starting rotation.

Chicago's No. 3 prospect per MLBPipeline.com -- and No. 11 overall -- is so excited to join the big league team that he brought his glove with him Wednesday when he met with the media at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech is eager to be part of the White Sox starting rotation.

Chicago's No. 3 prospect per MLBPipeline.com -- and No. 11 overall -- is so excited to join the big league team that he brought his glove with him Wednesday when he met with the media at Guaranteed Rate Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"If they need me," a smiling Kopech said.

Video: Kopech reflects on 2017 season

The first year with the White Sox for Kopech, who was a cornerstone of the Chris Sale trade return from Boston along with Yoan Moncada, couldn't have gone much better. He was named the White Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August/September after posting a 2-1 record with a 1.55 ERA, 38 strikeouts and a .210 opponents average over five starts for Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.

In what was easily a career-high 134 1/3 innings and 25 starts combined, the 20-year-old finished with a 2.88 ERA and 172 strikeouts to go with his .193 opponents average. He was named the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher, but it was a late promotion to Charlotte and the International League truly punctuating this campaign for the hard-throwing right-hander.

"Absolutely, especially with the couple months that I had done well in Birmingham," Kopech said. "I don't want to say I felt like I deserved it, but at the same time, to see that the organization was just as excited about what I was doing as I was, it meant a lot to me."

"We were actually just talking to him about how he felt this season went," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He had a couple of outings at Birmingham that hadn't gone too well. He kind of overcame those and got back on track with a couple of the coaches over there and finished off the season throwing very, very well."

Those outings came during June, when Kopech had a 0-3 record with a 6.95 ERA and 18 walks in 22 innings. But Kopech worked his way through the struggles and explained Wednesday the valuable lesson learned about keeping a narrow focus in his pursuit of the big leagues.

"It's a long season and not to get too far ahead of myself, which I think happened for me in June when I had that rough month, that rough patch there," Kopech said. "I was thinking too far ahead, thinking about maybe a promotion or whatever the case may be. Kind of realizing that taking it day by day, week by week, month by month is more important than looking ahead."

Brielle Biermann, Kopech's girlfriend and reality show star, joined the hurler for his Chicago visit. Although she's drawn more to the sport of football, Brielle marveled at Guaranteed Rate Field -- the ultimate target of Kopech's work.

"Someone told me it's 26 or 27 years old, and it looks brand new to me," Brielle said. "I like it here. I love Chicago."

"This is the first time I actually got to see the stadium, so for me, this was the coolest part," said Kopech, who is going to take some time off before training begins for his goal of 162 games. "It's what I really wanted to see. I'm going to try to get to see a little bit of everything while I'm here and experience the whole vibe of the city. So far, I love it."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech