Just as the future seemed bright for the Chicago White Sox and starting pitcher Michael Kopech, the 22-year-old is now headed for Tommy John surgery after he tore his UCL.
On Friday, the White Sox announced an MRI revealed Kopech tore the UCL in his right elbow and will undergo TJS.
Michael Kopech will likely undergo Tommy John surgery after tests revealed a tear in his UCL. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training in 2020.
He will receive a second opinion in the days coming to confirm today’s diagnosis.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 7, 2018
If Kopech undergoes the surgery, the team expects Kopech to return for the start of spring training in 2020.
Kopech, who was rated as Chicago’s No. 2 prospect and the No. 13 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, made his MLB debut earlier this year.
The 22-year-old is regarded as one of the hardest throwers in the minor leagues and has an excellent slider to pair with a fastball that could surpass triple digits.
While this is far from a career-altering setback for Kopech, it will serve as a major hurdle for him to overcome at the start of his MLB career. If he returns for spring training in 2020, he’d still only be 24 years old.