(CBS) With the 2017 season in the books for the White Sox, general manager Rick Hahn reflected by saying that he believes the organization’s rebuild is ahead of schedule.
“We probably are a little ahead of where you could’ve reasonably projected us to be and certainly where you would project a normal rebuild,” Hahn said on Hit and Run with Barry Rozner and Joe Ostrowski on 670 The Score. “And by normal rebuild, I mean one in which the big league roster when you start is somewhat barren in terms of talent and you need to build to build this thing out through the draft and internationally and to a lesser extent via trade. We knew when we entered this the normal time frame that these things tend to take, but we were also cautiously optimistic given some of the premium talent we had up in Chicago that we would be able to via trade sort of move this thing along more quickly. As you look at it today, it seems we’ve been able to do that. But the player development side of this is important, and that’s going to be what’s at the forefront over the next 12 or 18 months or the next phase of this process.”
One of the prospects who has impressed Hahn and White Sox officials is 21-year-old right-hander Michael Kopech, who spent most of the summer at Double-A Birmingham, where he compiled an 8-7 record and 2.87 ERA with 155 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings. He then made three starts at Triple-A Charlotte to end his season, registering a 3.00 ERA.
Kopech will have the chance to compete for a rotation spot in spring training next season, amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said in late August, but Hahn emphasized that wasn’t the expectation. He’s expecting Kopech to join the team later in the 2018 season.
“Is it possible? Yes,” Hahn said when asked about the possibility of Kopech being on the White Sox next July. “That’s simply because of how talented he is and as people have probably gotten tired of hearing me say, the good ones sort of have a way of forcing the issue on you.
“We’re going to have realistic developmental goals for Michael Kopech next year, but it’s not going to shock me if again, he’s able to change our time horizon on those things given the talent he has.”
Listen to Hahn’s full interview below. He also addresses what prospects surprised him in 2017, how the White Sox will know when add big names via free agency to a young core and much more.