Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

With Michael Kopech's emergence, Red Sox will finally see what they gave up for Chris Sale this weekend

Alex Reimer
August 30, 2018 - 2:44 pm

Dave Dombrowski has emptied the Red Sox’ farm system in his efforts to build a World Series winner. Though scores of top prospects have been traded away in recent years, none of them have risen to stardom yet, or anything resembling it. The most bonafide big leaguer is probably Padres outfielder Manuel Margot –– sent to San Diego as part of the Craig Kimbrel deal –– who currently has seven home runs and an .687 OPS in 116 games.

Of course, since Dombrowski only started wheeling and dealing two years ago, the jury is still out on the majority of players he’s traded away. The Red Sox will see two of their prized ex-prospects this weekend, when they visit the surging White Sox for a four-game series. Chicago took two of three from the Yankees this week and have won six consecutive road series.

Chicago possesses an impressive assortment of young talent, including infielder Yoan Moncada and pitcher Michael Kopech, The Red Sox will see Kopech Friday night, as he’ll oppose Nathan Eovaldi. The flame-throwing righty was the fourth-ranked pitching prospect in all of baseball when Chicago called him up last week. Kopech, 22, has started two games and only been charged with one earned run in eight innings (his first start was shortened due to rain). He’s stuck out eight batters over that span as well.

There’s a larger sample size on Moncada, though he’s barely experienced a whiff of success at the big league level. The 23-year-old infielder, who landed a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox in 2015, leads the league with 186 strikeouts this season. On the positive side, he has 16 home runs, boosting his slugging percentage to .393.

Given Sale’s dominance in Boston so far, there’s been no second-guessing of Dombrowski’s decision to deal away two of the Red Sox’ most heralded youngsters for him. But that narrative could shift a little bit this year, considering Sale is still on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. The lefty allowed nine runs in two playoff appearances last year.

If Sale suffers another October meltdown, or is unable to pitch, the peanut gallery may start to com out of the woodwork. At the least, Kopech is showing himself to be the one prospect whom the Red Sox miss.