What Makes River Kopech an Exciting Young Pitcher


You might not know the name River Kopech yet, but baseball fans everywhere are starting to take notice of this young fireballer. At just 25 years old, Kopech is already making waves in the majors with his blazing fastball and nasty breaking pitches. Though he’s had some early career setbacks due to injuries, Kopech has shown resilience and determination to come back strong.

Now as a key part of the White Sox pitching rotation, he’s poised for stardom. With the ability to routinely hit 100 mph on the radar gun and strike out batters at an impressive rate, Kopech has all the tools to become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. His raw talent and competitive spirit make him an exciting player to watch develop. So keep your eye on this young phenom – he’s got the potential to be the next big thing on the mound.

Introducing White Sox Pitching Prospect River Kopech

The Chicago White Sox have an exciting young arm in their system: pitcher River Kopech. The Red Sox drafted Kopech 33rd overall in 2014, and he signed for $1.5 million. Since then, Kopech has blossomed into one of baseball’s best pitching prospects.

Power Fastball

Kopech’s claim to fame is his triple-digit fastball. He can reach back and hit 102 mph on the radar gun, an elite velocity that only a handful of pitchers in the majors can match. When Kopech pairs his heater with a slider and changeup, hitters have a tough time making solid contact.

2018 Debut

Kopech made his major league debut in August 2018. Although he experienced some early struggles, he showcased his potential. His four-seam fastball averaged 97.2 mph, and he struck out 15 batters in just 15 innings. Kopech is still refining his command, but with his overpowering stuff, he can dominate even when not at his best.

The White Sox believe Kopech will anchor their rotation for years. Even after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019, Kopech remains a key part of the team’s future. He has the makings of an ace if he can stay healthy, with a fastball that gives hitters nightmares and a competitive attitude that matches his elite arsenal. South Side fans have a lot to look forward to once Kopech returns to the mound.

Kopech’s Lightning Fast Fastball

River Kopech has one of the fastest fastballs in baseball. At just 21, Kopech was throwing 99 mph heat and topping out at 105 mph. ###Incredible Velocity for His Age

For perspective, most major league pitchers don’t reach 95 mph until their mid-20s, if at all. The fact that Kopech was throwing 90 mph at 14 and 94 mph at 17 shows how gifted he is. His fastball velocity is nearly unprecedented for a pitcher his age.

Overpowering High Heat

Kopech’s four-seam fastball sits between 95 to 99 mph and features late life up in the zone that generates swings and misses. Hitters simply can’t catch up to his high-octane heater. Kopech has reached triple digits on the radar gun with regularity and touched 105 mph, demonstrating how overpowering his fastball can be.

Perfect Pitch to Build Around

With a fastball that dominant, Kopech has the perfect pitch to build around. He’s developing his slider and changeup to keep hitters off balance, but when he needs to, he can just rare back and blow his fastball by hitters. Kopech’s fastball gives him a margin for error and room to learn as he refines his craft at the big league level.

The combination of velocity, movement and youth makes Kopech’s fastball a truly special pitch and the centerpiece of what should be a successful career. His lightning bolt of a fastball is a big reason why Kopech is such an exciting young pitcher.

Developing His Offspeed Pitches


Kopech’s slider has earned plus grades since high school and has been his best offspeed pitch. It sits in the mid-80s with sharp, late break that generates swings and misses. He uses it often in two-strike counts to put hitters away, especially righties. The key for Kopech is to keep improving his command of the slider so he can spot it on the outer half of the plate against lefties. With continued refinement, his slider could become an elite strikeout pitch.


Kopech didn’t make major grip changes or go through specific drills to improve his changeup. He focused on repeating the same arm speed and release point as his fastball. The changeup sits in the high-80s, which provides a nice speed differential from his heater. It shows good fade and sink, though he still struggles to locate it consistently. The changeup is a work in progress, but even an average third pitch would make Kopech’s fastball-slider combo lethal.

To reach his ceiling, Kopech needs at least one other reliable offspeed pitch. His slider and changeup show promise, but neither is a finished product. With improved command and feel of these secondary pitches—and continued development of a third offering like a curveball—Kopech has frontline starter potential. The key for Kopech’s development lies in his slider being his best offspeed pitch. If he can tighten his slider into an out pitch and improve the command of his change to keep hitters off balance, he’ll be tough to hit. The future is bright for this fireballing phenom.

Injury History and Comeback

Kopech’s promising start to his major league career was derailed by injuries. In 2018, he suffered a left knee strain, leading to missing significant time. The following season, he underwent surgery to repair his right knee meniscus, ending his season. Just as Kopech looked poised for a comeback in 2022, right shoulder inflammation cut his season short again.

2018 Knee Strain

Early in the 2018 season, Kopech strained his left knee, causing him to miss over a month. At the time, the injury was considered minor. However, it was a foreshadowing of future setbacks. Kopech returned and finished the season in the White Sox bullpen.

2019 Knee Surgery

Kopech’s 2019 season ended before it began. He underwent surgery to repair his right knee meniscus, requiring an extended recovery and rehab. The procedure kept him sidelined the entire season. After months of rehab, Kopech was ready to return for 2020.

2022 Shoulder Inflammation

After missing 2019, Kopech looked forward to resuming his role in the White Sox rotation in 2020. However, right shoulder inflammation caused him to leave his first Spring Training start early. The White Sox shut him down for the remainder of the season to avoid risking further injury.

Kopech has faced significant adversity for such a young pitcher. However, his electric stuff and potential give the White Sox hope he can still develop into a frontline starter if he can overcome his injury history. Kopech will need to prove he can handle the rigors of a full major league season upon his return. The White Sox will likely handle him carefully to ensure his long term health and success. With patience and perseverance, Kopech may yet fulfill his vast potential.

What the Future Holds for River Kopech

Breaking into the Big Leagues

River Kopech has all the makings of a future ace, with a fastball that reaches 100 mph and a nasty slider and changeup. The White Sox are hoping he can build on his success and become a mainstay in their rotation for years to come. With front-of-the-rotation potential, the possibility of fast-tracking Kopech to the majors is real.

2024: A Pivotal Season

The 2024 season will be crucial for Kopech to solidify himself in the White Sox’s plans. If he can stay healthy and continue improving his secondary pitches, he’ll be poised to earn a spot in the starting rotation. The White Sox will likely take it slow with Kopech to start the season, limiting his innings and pitch counts. But if he dominates, they may have no choice but to call him up for good.

Sky-High Ceiling

Kopech has all the natural ability to become an ace, with a sky-high ceiling. His fastball is considered by many scouts to be the best in the minors. As he refines his command and develops his offspeed pitches, he’ll have the arsenal to overpower major league hitters. The key will be staying healthy and continuing the progress he’s made. If he can do that, the White Sox will have an exciting arm to build around.

The future is bright for River Kopech. The White Sox will give him every opportunity over the next couple of seasons to claim a spot in their rotation and establish himself as a frontline starter. Kopech has the potential to lead the staff for years to come, with a ceiling as high as any pitching prospect in baseball. The 2024 season may prove to be his coming out party.


So there you have it – River Kopech is definitely an exciting young pitcher to keep your eye on. With his blazing fastball, nasty slider, and competitiveness on the mound, he has all the makings of a future ace. The White Sox were smart to trade for him and if he can stay healthy, he could anchor their rotation for years to come.

Will he take the next step and become a dominant, Cy Young-caliber starter? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – when River Kopech is on the mound, you can’t help but watch. This kid is must-see TV and has the potential to do special things in this game. Strap in and enjoy the ride.

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