Adam Eaton

Pair of White Sox top pitching prospects promoted

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USA TODAY

Pair of White Sox top pitching prospects promoted

White Sox fans located in Chicago and Charlotte will get a glimpse into the future next week.

The White Sox announced they will promote pitching prospect Lucas Giolito to the majors and he will start in Monday's doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins. Michael Kopech, the White Sox No. 3 overall prospect, has been promoted to Triple-A Charlotte and will start on Monday night against Norfolk, the team also announced on Friday.

Giolito, who the White Sox acquired along with Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning in an offseason trade from the Washington Nationals for Adam Eaton, is MLB Pipeline's No. 59 overall prospect.

After a shaky start to begin the 2017 season, Giolito has turned the corner as of late.

In his last five starts with the Knights, Giolito has a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched. During that span, Giolito has a 28/11 K/BB ratio and opposing hitters are slashing just .221/.288/.319. The 23-year-old Giolito has a 6-10 record with a 4.48 ERA in 24 starts in 2017.

Giolito, a former first round pick of the Nationals in 2012, had a brief stint in the majors last season and had a 6.75 ERA in six games with Washington.

Kopech, who was a key piece the White Sox acquired in a blockbuster offseason deal with the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale, has been nothing short of dominant in the minors.

Kopech has a 0.66 ERA with 54 strikeouts and seven walks in his last 41 innings with the Birmingham Barons. In 22 minor league starts this season, Kopech has a 2.87 ERA and a 1.148 WHIP with 155 strikeouts in 119.1 innings.

Kopech is currently MLB Pipeline's No. 1 pitching prospect in the minors.

Why the White Sox are excited about Reynaldo Lopez: 'His time has come'

Why the White Sox are excited about Reynaldo Lopez: 'His time has come'

The White Sox like what they have in Reynaldo Lopez and are ready to see how his talent translates to the majors.

Lopez arrived at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday afternoon, a day ahead of his White Sox debut. Lopez will pitch for the White Sox in the opener of a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals. The No. 59 prospect in baseball spent Thursday assimilating himself to the clubhouse, playing catch and soaking up an atmosphere that has been energized by his promotion. Similar to last month’s call up of Yoan Moncada, Lopez’s first game has excited both the team’s fans and its members.

“Everybody has kind of been anticipating his arrival as we wait for a lot of the other guys who are going to be developing over the course of the next couple of years to get here,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Certainly, we’re all looking forward to getting him out there on the hill and see how he’s doing.”

The White Sox got a pretty good look at Lopez this spring after he came over in a December trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals. Lopez made five starts and posted a 3.72 ERA over 19 1/3 innings, striking out 14 and walking five. The right-hander made a strong impression on Don Cooper with his three-pitch mix.

“You could tell right away he had good stuff, he had three pitches, the fastball curveball and changeup,” Cooper said. “I enjoyed the conversations we had. I remember going to the film room with him looking at stuff. And now his time has come. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

While the two talked shop -- they moved Lopez on the rubber to improve his command -- Cooper said most of his intent this spring was to build a foundation with Lopez, who pitched 44 innings for Washington in 2016, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and others. The veteran pitching coach hopes those conversations and film sessions help he and Lopez pick up where they let off in March.

“It was more establishing a relationship because I knew he was going to be here,” Cooper said. “I wanted to feel comfortable with him and I want him to feel comfortable with me.

“I didn't want anything to slip through the cracks with my thoughts. I wanted him to know exactly where I was coming from and what I thought of him. Anytime he has questions or wants to know something, I want it to be clear for him.”

One thing is evident -
W- Lopez is as ready as he’s going to be. Lopez, 23, was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the month after he posted a 2.10 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 30 innings in July. He said on Friday he’s believes he’s ready to be here and the White Sox think so, too.

“He's had to wait his time and now his time has come,” Cooper said.

White Sox minor league pitcher of the month Reynaldo Lopez 'forcing issue' to be called up

White Sox minor league pitcher of the month Reynaldo Lopez 'forcing issue' to be called up

Reynaldo Lopez has only strengthened his case over the last month that he deserves to be in the majors.

Seemingly ready for a promotion, the Triple-A Charlotte starting pitcher was named the organization’s minor league pitcher for July on Wednesday. Single-A Winston-Salem outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Charlotte infielder Jake Peter split honors as the franchise’s minor league player of the month.

Acquired in the deal that sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals, Lopez posted a 2.10 ERA and struck out 38 batters in 30 innings last month. MLB.com’s No. 59 prospect, Lopez currently is among the International League leaders in strikeouts (third with 122), strikeouts per nine (third, 9.5), opponents average (third, .220) and innings pitched (fifth, 116).

“He’s forcing the issue,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told reporters on Sunday. “He’s had several starts in a row that have been very impressive. Lucas Giolito, as well, has been impressive in his recent starts, and at some point here they’re likely going to force our hand to get them here to Chicago and give them the opportunity to show what they can do at the big league level.”

Peter hasn’t slowed down since he adjusted levels, moving up to Charlotte from Double-A Birmingham in July. Peter not only had an 18-game hitting streak, he hit .364/.424/.542 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and 21 runs between the two.

Jimenez has used his new opportunity with the White Sox to show how explosive of an offensive force he can be. The No. 5 prospect in baseball, Jimenez produced a .356/.415/.678 slash line with seven doubles, four homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games after he was acquired in the deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

“We view him as similar to Moncada, where Yoan was in his development the year before we acquired him — with the potential to grow into a potent offensive force,” Hahn said last month. “Again, one of the more exciting prospects in baseball with a diverse skillset that can impact the game multiple ways.”

Lopez’s potential has had plenty of fans wondering when he’ll have the chance to make an impact in the majors.

The White Sox starting rotation could use the help. The team’s starters are 22-49 with a 5.13 ERA this season and have only pitched five or more innings in 52 of 104 games. Lopez, who has 42 major league innings to his credit, was the most polished pitcher acquired last winter. The White Sox suggested he was close to major-league ready during the spring and Lopez has begun proving it the past few months.

“He’s been commanding all his pitches, being very aggressive within the zone and showing that he’s getting close to needing to be here to show what he can do against big league hitters,” Hahn said.