White Sox top pitching prospect working hard at Double-A Birmingham
By Michael Kopech
Special to MLB.com |
I'll be honest, it's difficult not to think about playing in the big leagues. You wish you were there right now.
So the big thing for me is trying to stay in the moment. At the All-Star Futures Game in Miami, I said something that I needed to hear for myself as much as anything else. I also figured other players in similar situations could benefit from it as well.
I said, "If you take it day by day, you could win the day. If you win a day, you could win a week. If you win a week, you could win a month. If you win a month, you could win the year. If you win each one of those things every time, you're going to reach your goal."
Right now, taking it day by day is the best approach for me. Obviously, I want to think about what might be a year from now, but I can't get to that point if I don't win today.
I got a taste of the big league experience by pitching in the Futures Game at Marlins Park. It was the first time I pitched in front of a crowd that big. Coming out of the bullpen, the first thing you see is an upper deck that's full. I'm not even used to pitching in stadiums that have upper decks. I looked up once, and when I saw how many people were there, I looked down and never looked up again until I got to the mound.
I was nervous, but once I threw the first pitch, it was back to normal. I treated it as a regular game until Yoan Moncada stepped into the box. Before the game, I told him not to take the bat off his shoulder so I could look good on TV. I threw him some good pitches to strike him out.
I was excited to be there and represent the White Sox. It makes me want to work harder.
I have work to do. I'm not satisfied with what I've done this year in Double-A Birmingham. I got off to a good start and then struggled a bit. I wasn't where I needed to be mentally. I was carrying one bad outing into the next and trying to do too much. It messed up my mechanics.
I never really played a full season until this year. I have to realize you're going to have some so-so starts during a long season. I have to put it behind me and focus on the next one. I'm looking to finish strong so I can call it a good year.
I know Sox fans are excited about all the young prospects in the system. We're just as excited to get to Chicago and help the White Sox win.
My goal is to get to the big leagues. If that's tomorrow, three years from now, or somewhere in between, that's not in my control. What I control is being prepared to compete every time I step on the mound. Just try to win the day.
As told to Ed Sherman.
Michael Kopech is a right-handed pitcher for Double-A Birmingham. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.