Kopech, Basabe, Zavala taking early steps toward joining White Sox

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech works against the Oakland Athletics during the spring training. Minor-league prospects Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Seby Zavala are all hoping to join the Chicago White Sox in the future. The trio are off to good starts with productive Aprils.

    White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech works against the Oakland Athletics during the spring training. Minor-league prospects Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Seby Zavala are all hoping to join the Chicago White Sox in the future. The trio are off to good starts with productive Aprils. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/5/2018 12:35 AM

For now, they'll have to be content doing conference calls.

Down the road, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Seby Zavala will be waiting for the call to join the Chicago White Sox.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The trio talked to reporters covering the Sox on Friday after being voted minor-league pitcher/players of the month for April.

The closest to making it to the majors -- by far -- Kopech won top pitchers honors after going 0-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 21 innings over 4 April starts with Class AAA Charlotte.

The rocket-armed righty also took the mound on May 1, the day after his 22nd birthday, and allowed 3 runs in 6 innings to go with 6 strikeouts.

There is little doubt Kopech is ready to join the White Sox's starting rotation right now.

"I hate to sound like I'm beyond ready because that's not what I'm trying to say at all," Kopech said. "I do think there are things I need to polish. But I do feel like I've done a good job of that. Honestly, I feel like my changeup is here.

"I've thrown it more and more. I'm comfortable with it. I had more swings and misses on it last start then I probably have in my entire career combined. So, I'm comfortable with my secondary stuff right now."

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Coupled with a fastball that regularly hits 100 mph, Kopech looks like a can't-miss star of the near future.

But his arrival could very well be delayed by "Super Two" concerns. Players typically need three years of major-league service time before they're eligible for salary arbitration.

Super Twos are arbitration eligible if they rank in the top 22 percent of players with the most service time between two and three years.

So, if the Sox want to save a year of arbitration on Kopech, they like wait until sometime next month to bring him to the majors.

As for Basabe and Zavala, they've made themselves easier to find on the White Sox's radar.

Acquired with Kopech and Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade, Basabe batted .313 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 4 home runs and 17 RBI in 21 April games with low Class A Winston-Salem.

In 107 games with Winston-Salem last year, the 21-year-old outfielder batted .221 and had 5 homers while dealing with a left knee injury that cut his season short and required surgery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Now fully recovered and 20 pounds heavier, Basabe is showing why he's viewed as a five-tool player.

"I've been feeling good," Basabe said through an interpreter. "I think my body is strong and has been responding the way that I want it to respond. A big key for me is to stay healthy."

Zavala has also had injury issues, highlighted by missing a year at San Diego State after having Tommy John surgery.

The 24-year-old catcher/designated hitter batted .315 with 6 home runs and 19 RBI in 22 April games with Double-A Birmingham.

"Those injuries, they were kind of just luck of the draw," said Zavala, the Sox's 12th-round draft pick in 2015. "It's just really rewarding knowing that all of the work I've put in is finally starting to show a little bit."

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