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2015 Red Sox top prospect rankings #14: The Kopech project commences

The Red Sox' other first-round pick takes his place on the list three spots after Michael Chavis.

Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Chavis was Boston's only selection in the first round proper of the 2014 MLB Draft, but coming in just seven picks later was Michael Kopech, who takes the 13th spot on our top-20 list.

While those seven picks (and designation as a sandwich round selection) have contributed to a three-slot difference between Kopech and Chavis in our rankings, Kopech is an easy player to get excited about now, even before we get to see what he can do when given time on the mound in 2015. Kopech is a project pick, with all the upside that usually entails, but already there are signs that some of the work is done ahead of schedule. His velocity was already up ahead of the draft, and since then it seems the Red Sox have managed to smooth out some of the kinks in his delivery.

As of now, we can't be sure those steps forward are anything more than cosmetic. A clean delivery is only a step forward if Kopech has actually adjusted to the tinkering rather than simply adopting the organization's suggestions. We'll have a better idea of whether or not those changes have really taken come spring and summer, but for now it's at least a positive sign.

No matter what steps Kopech has taken forward, there are obviously still more to go. He is, after all, just 18 (oh God he was born in 1996 in what world is that acceptable?!) and has not even 14 professional innings to his name. Kopech is a project pitcher fresh out of high school, and it will be a long time before we're talking about his place in Boston's rotation if, indeed, we ever get to that point. But if all goes well between now and then, Kopech has the sort of ceiling that Red Sox fans love. He's not a top arm yet, but a top arm that could be.

  1. Blake Swihart, C
  2. Henry Owens, LHP
  3. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
  4. Rafael Devers, 3B
  5. Manuel Margot, OF
  6. Brian Johnson, LHP
  7. Garin Cecchini, 3B
  8. Matt Barnes, RHP
  9. Deven Marrero, SS
  10. Michael Chavis, SS
  11. Trey Ball, LHP
  12. Sean Coyle, 2B
  13. Michael Kopech, RHP