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Top pitching prospect Kopech reassigned

MLB.com @alysonfooter

Michael Kopech, the flamethrowing right-hander who is ranked the No. 2 prospect in the White Sox organization and the No. 10 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, was reassigned to Minor League camp on Tuesday.

The White Sox also reassigned outfielder Jacob May to Minor League camp.

Michael Kopech, the flamethrowing right-hander who is ranked the No. 2 prospect in the White Sox organization and the No. 10 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, was reassigned to Minor League camp on Tuesday.

The White Sox also reassigned outfielder Jacob May to Minor League camp.

Kopech is the organization's top pitching prospect, possessing a powerful fastball that can reach triple digits, and he's been using Spring Training to refine his stuff. The 21-year-old pitched in four games (three starts) and had an 11.57 ERA with seven strikeouts over seven innings. He'd been expected to start the season in the Minors, and he'll assume his position with Triple-A Charlotte as the staff ace.

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"I feel like I'm going to be ready when I get the call," Kopech said. "Right now, I'm just continuing to work on what I've been working on. It was good experience being around the older guys, guys that have been in the league for a couple years now."

The White Sox, who have one of the top farm systems in baseball, have reassigned several intriguing prospects to Minor League camp recently. The moves serve as a reminder about what's to come for the club, even if that wave of talent doesn't arrive this year.

Kopech was one of many prospects in big league camp considered to be a key part of the White Sox long-term future. The notion was not lost on the "kids," as they soaked in the past five weeks.

"We've come to the realization that we all want the same thing," Kopech said. "It's not crazy to think that we can be really good and win a lot of games. To get the experience, to be a part of that, was unbelievable."

Video: Renteria talks about Kopech's pitching abilities

Kopech left Major League camp encouraged with the progress he made with his changeup, an important pitch that young hurlers need as they work their way to the Majors.

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"My changeup's come a long way this spring, and I'm excited about that," Kopech said. "I threw another bullpen today, and it's still looking better and better every day. If there's something I can take out of big league camp, it's throwing my changeup that I wasn't too confident in when I was first coming in, and building up the confidence against good hitters."

In his final Major League outing, Kopech allowed seven runs (four earned) in one-third of an inning. He later was critical of his lack of composure during that game, and at other times during the spring. Manager Rick Renteria defended the mild-mannered Kopech, warning there's a difference between losing one's cool and simply showing a little emotion.

Renteria saw the latter in Kopech, whom the skipper praised for a fine showing in camp.

"I think he's very capable of maintaining composure on the mound," Renteria said. "I think he wants to perform so badly that you might see something that might be perceived as being chaotic or out of sorts. He isn't. He's in complete control. It's just managing the energy in the right direction. I think he's going to do well."

Video: CWS@OAK: Kopech reacts to rough outing vs. the A's

Kopech and May -- a non-roster invitee who hit .259 in 27 at-bats -- were the only players reassigned on Tuesday.

The White Sox have 36 players remaining in Major League camp -- 20 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders and six outfielders.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech