Red Sox use second first-round pick on hard-throwing HS RHP Michael Kopech

June 05, 2014 - 6:18 pm

After the Red Sox took power-hitting high schooler Michael Chavis with their initial selection of the first round (No. 26 overall), the team used its second first-round selection (compensation for the loss of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury) to select high school right-hander Michael Kopech out of Mount Pleasant High School in Texas, who stands 6-foot-4, 190 pounds with a live, power arm. Two evaluators saw him sit at 93-95 mph while touching as high as 98 mph on a number of occasions. Kopech may well feature the best velocity of any Red Sox high school draftee in recent memory. He also possesses a curveball, slider and changeup (one scout suggested that the curve and slider can run into each other but show the potential to develop as two separate pitches, with a power slider being ahead of the curve), though because he could typically overpower his opposition, the opportunities to see the changeup in games was rare. Between his fastball velocity and strike-throwing ability and the presence of a power secondary offering, it's not hard to imagine Kopech having at least the floor (barring injury) of a reliever; if his secondary offerings develop, however, it's not hard to imagine him filling out his still-lanky frame to become a workhorse with front-of-the-rotation potential -- a notion underscored when, in a summer showcase, he blew away all three batters he faced (highly regarded prospects in their own right). Here's the scouting report on him from Baseball America: In one of the most talent-barren years in Texas in recent memory, Kopech has shown arm strength that would stand out against any crop. He had an uneven summer on the showcase circuit that ended on a high note with one of the top showings at the Under Armour All-American Game, when he struck out out Monte Harrison, Michael Gettys and Alex Jackson in succession. A loose, flexible athlete with a quick arm, Kopech showed better velocity entering the spring, going from 89-92 mph at multiple events last summer to 92-96, touching 98 this spring. The ball jumps out of his hand and gets on hitters quickly. The Arizona commit'€™s fastball also has plus life with cutting action and sink that will produce ground balls. Kopech has multiple breaking balls and his slider shows above-average potential. He has feel for a changeup with average potential. Kopech has a high-maintenance, rotation-heavy delivery that can be tough to repeat. He also has rigidity to the front side of his delivery. These factors cause some scouts to wonder if the delivery and strike-throwing ability will play in the rotation, though he has the stuff to do so, is an impressive athlete and has thrown strikes this spring. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Kopech has one of the best pitching bodies in the draft with wiry strength.