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Tommy John Surgery Recommended For Michael Kopech

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Photo by Bill Mitchell

Another top pitching prospect has succumbed to injury.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn announced Friday that Michael Kopech, the No. 13 prospect on the BA's Top 100 Prospects list, has a “significant” tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and that Tommy John surgery has been recommended. The 22-year-old is expected to miss the 2019 season and be ready for spring training 2020.

Kopech becomes the sixth pitcher on BA's preseason Top 100 to sustain UCL damage this year, joining Shohei Ohtani (No. 2). Brent Honeywell (No. 14), Hunter Greene (No. 29), A.J. Puk (No. 30) and Jay Groome (No. 83). All but Greene have either had Tommy John surgery or been recommended for it.

Overall, 22 of the 44 pitchers on the BA preseason Top 100 have missed significant time with arm- or pitching-related injuries in 2018. In addition to the six with UCL damage, Forrest Whitley (No. 8, oblique), Alex Reyes (No. 17, lat), Luiz Gohara (No. 23, shoulder) Sixto Sanchez (No. 25, elbow), MacKenzie Gore (No. 26, blisters), Mike Soroka (No. 27, shoulder), Triston McKenzie (No. 33, forearm) Franklin Perez (No. 35, shoulder), Alec Hansen (No. 57, forearm) Adrian Morejon (No. 66, flexor/triceps), Sandy Alcantara (No. 70, underarm), Jon Duplantier (No. 73, biceps), Albert Abreu (No. 77, shoulder) Dane Dunning (No. 82, elbow), Nate Pearson (No. 91, broken ulna) and Riley Pint (No. 99, oblique) all missed considerable time.

Kopech’s announcement comes after he allowed nine hits and seven runs in 3.1 innings in his last start against the Tigers on Wednesday. He had allowed only one run in 11 innings through his first three MLB starts after making his debut Aug. 21.

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Number Of Minor League Pitchers Throwing 100 MPH Decreases In 2018

In conversations with scouts and front office officials during the season many of them mentioned seeing less pitchers with top-of-the-scale fastballs than they had seen in other recent seasons.

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