White Sox prospect Michael Kopech is the current pitching phenom that everyone is in love with. He throws very hard, to the point where videos of him on Instagram have him crow-hopping and hitting 110 MPH on the gun. He can’t legally drink until late this April, but he’s still considered one of, if not the best, pitching prospect in the game. But he’s kinda weird. Or at least his entire reality is.
I highly recommend this detailed piece by Scott Miller of Bleacher Report to truly embrace the weirdness. As mentioned, Kopech is a baby. Yet he’s already had enough controversy and life events to have his own reality TV show. That notion is something that will likely happen, as his girlfriend has about three times as many Twitter followers as him. Brielle Biermann is the daughter of a Real Housewives of Atlanta star and adopted daughter of former NFL player Kroy Biermann. She’s already dubbed her relationship as a better version of Ken and Barbie.
No doubt, Kopech has some luscious locks that rival his girlfriends. He looks like he belongs on a surf board even though he hails from Texas. Plus, his ultimate goal is to throw 107 MPH in a Major League game, not crush the next gnarly wave. So just by looks and relationships, Kopech is already a more public and interesting case than most phenoms.
Someone with this life is usually slapped with the stereotype of spoiled uber-athlete who is ready to get paid and do it in the flashiest way possible. But according to his Twitter feed and from accounts who’ve met him, he’s an ultra-hard worker and genuinely a nice dude. Even though that goes against some of his off-the-field incidents.
Kopech broke his pitching hand last spring after punching his roommate in the back of the head. Both parties consider the matter to be over, and Kopech even goes as far as saying he’s still close friends with the guy. So a 19 year old kid full of testosterone got into a fight. Big deal. Turn the page, happens every day.
But then Kopech tested positive for oxilofrine, the substance for which sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell had tested positive for. He claims that he has no idea how he tested positive, but has accepted the consequences and moved on. All the while, he’s blowing up radar guns, hitting triple digits consistently and striking out double digit batters per nine innings.
I guess what makes him weird is that he’s a unicorn. There’s probably no prospect in baseball that lives as public a life as Kopech. His Twitter feed will either make you want to hit the gym…or laugh, depending on your perspective. His girlfriend almost mirrors his prospect status, only she’s attempting to break into the reality TV world while Michael is trying to break into the Major Leagues. It’s like someone sketched these personalities out on a script and waved a magic wand to make them real people.
When the adversity hits, and it will, how will these personalities react? Off the field, Kopech has already expressed his concern over his girlfriend’s publicity. That’s only going to get worse when they get more famous. What about on the field? Kopech has yet to have his first Tommy John surgery. Yes, I’m confident enough to word it like that considering every young pitcher who throws a billion MPH ends up having TJ. What happens when he has to miss a year and at the same time more and more guys are Googling his girlfriend’s name plus “bikini”?
How will this reality show play out?