2014 MLB Draft Profile: Michael Kopech, RHP, Mt. Pleasant HS (TX)

He's a tall and wiry frame athlete on the mound. There a lot of potential but needs a lot of work to refine the mechanics and stuff to reach anything near his ceiling.

Summary

Michael Kopech's name has been floating around for awhile. He's been a kid that scouts have known about and have been waiting for to be draft eligible. He's athletic. Scouts love athletic pitchers. Scouts love athletic pitcher's from Texas. Texas just has that history of producing big time arms. Always looking for the next "Texas Flamethrower." Although, he's not currently what you would consider a "Texas Flamethrower."

Kopech stands on the mound tall and wiry. That 6'4" body only carries 195 pounds. He has average hip height for his height and average shoulder breadth. There is definitely room to add mass but won't be a large bodied pitcher. But, that's a good thing for him as he's an athlete. That's what serves him on the mound. Very athletic and fluid movements.

His delivery is....uh...unconventional? Not unconventional in the way of Marshall pitchers or Outman mechanics. But, there's some funk unique to him.  From the windup, he side steps and pauses before going into his leg raise.  His leg raise is a tall one that starts out with it fairly straight before flexing the knee to pull it in tighter. He then kicks it out straight again to pull it around into his stride.  He's a pretty exaggerated "drop and drive" pitcher as he really drops that back leg and pushes off the rubber. But, he also leans back which makes him get rotational in his delivery as opposed to all of his momentum heading straight for the plate.  There's some recoil in his arm as well during the deceleration phase.

There's just some funk there and it creates some timing issues which incidentally causes some control issues. Something that he needs to get fixed for his stuff to play where it should.

I like the stuff. There is a lot of potential there. It just needs a lot of refinement. He sits 90-93 and can hit 94.  Uses both a 2-seam and a 4-seam fastball. The 2-seam can have some nice arm-side run at times.  He throws both a slider and curve but they lack distinction as the slider is in the 70's a lot of time. It has more horizontal movement than the curve but is not currently an above average pitch. The curve has 11/5 break and is without a doubt, the better pitch right now. Could be an above-average to plus pitch. The change up is just like many other HS change ups, it needs work. However, he's shown a willingness to throw it, and throw it with good arm action.

Floor

He's a project. There is a lot in this guy. But, it's going to take a lot of work on his mechanics to improve the timing issues and a lot of work to tighten up his off-speed pitches. He currently doesn't have the refinement to his stuff to work solely off of it in the pro ranks. He has to improve the sharpness and control of all his pitches. The floor is a minor league guy.

Ceiling

Middle to top of the rotation upside. You get this guys body firing better and there may be some more velocity there. You get refinement in the curve and the slider at a better velocity, you have at least some average pitches. You get him throwing the change up well, watch out. There's a chance for at least three average to above-average pitches. If not better. He could play well in a late inning role as well.

Projected Draft Round

He was once thought of as a sure-firer first rounder but now looks more like a late first to middle of the second round.

College Commitment: Arizona

Will he sign?

There's a lot of upside there and he's a guy who might benefit from the college route. If a college coach can help him out with his mechanics, he could end up being selected much higher. However, the opposite is true as well. If the mechanics don't help his control and the breaking balls don't tighten up, he could fall. Fall far.

Bibliography

(Old video, but an interesting one. I disagree on some of the cues he uses and some of the things he emphasized. But did agree on some things as well. A lot has changed since this video, but there are things that still exist in his delivery)

Big League Futures

Mike is the big ideal athletic frame that you look for in the new age pitcher, long, lean, and fast arm speed.  Highly projectable down the road, he could fill out a bit more into the 215 range; he looks the part of Shane Reynolds.  Mechanically, he moves around a great deal, bit inconsistent in the footwork, repeating the slot.  He does collapse his delivery at times, shows a bit of arm wrap and could hide the ball a bit better on the back end.  He is long, loose, and these are timing issues that needs tightening to improve command, improve balance and rhythm.  Fastball was 90-93 (94) mph, very heavy offering and when dialed in it was tough to square up with plane.  It shows some backspin and rising action on the 4S.  89-90 mph 2S showed some glove side action and sink to project this pitch.  The curve 74-76 mph, the rotation needs to tighten, but it shows above average depth.  The change up is a work in progress, any improvements could project three average or better offerings, arm speed and frame are enticing.

Perfect Game

Michael Kopech is a 2014 RHP/SS with a 6-4 195 lb. frame from Mt Pleasant, TX who attends Mt Pleasant HS. Long slender low waisted build, very flexible and loose actions. long loose fast arm action, big leverage at release with snappy wrist action out front. Fastball to 94 mph, hard tailing action at times, does a good job spotting fastball and pitches aggressively with it. Mid 70's curveball has hard spin, big sweeping action at times, will drop release slot at times and tip curveball. Have seen good change up in the past, didn't throw this outing. Very physically projectable and present stuff already top level. Good student. Selected to the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

Baseball Prospectus

Kopech had one of the most impressive two-inning performances, notching six strikeouts (one reaching base on a dropped third strike) and showing off a quality 1-2 punch with his fastball and curve, and lots of room for his stuff to progress. Kopech throws with a loose, whippy arm and creates good deception with his mechanics, making it difficult for hitters to pick up his pitches until late in their path. His four-seamer sat 91-93 mph out of the full windup and his two-seamer in the 89-91 mph range; each pitch drops one to two miles per hour out of the stretch.

Kopech’s breaking ball is an 11-to-5 mid-70s curve that comes out of the same slot as his fastball, proving most difficult for hitters to ID. He showed an ability to draw swings out of the zone as well as to drop the breaker in for a strike, and the pitch was generally consistent in shape and execution. Kopech’s third offering was an upper-70s changeup that he threw with some feel, though the pitch is still in its early stages. Kopech projects well physically and could gain velocity over the next 12 months.

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