If you've been playing Fantasy Baseball for long enough, you've surely come across these eight letters: TNSTAAPP. 

"There's No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect."

The term, seemingly coined by Baseball Prospectus back in the 90s, refers to the massive attrition rate of young pitchers, largely due to injuries, that makes projecting them incredibly difficult. However, it actually works in the opposite direction: Pitchers have a tendency to take off unexpectedly thanks to the addition of new pitches, newfound velocity, or some other combination of ingredients in the gumbo that makes a pitcher effective at the major-league level.

These days, it feels like you could just lop off that last P, and just go with "There's No Such Thing As A Pitcher," given how hard the position has been to predict in 2023. And the best example of both principles might be White Sox hurley Michael Kopech.

We're about a decade removed from Kopech whipping in 105-mph fastballs, a trick that vaulted him up the prospect rankings. But it was never an easy path for Kopech, who was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance in 2015, suffered a broken hand in an altercation with a teammate in 2016, was traded to the White Sox before 2017, made his major-league debut later in 2018, and promptly required Tommy John surgery after just four starts. He missed all of the 2019 season recovering from that, then sat out 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was still ranked as a top-50 prospect by MLB Pipeline heading into the 2021 season – seven full years after he was drafted. 

Kopech looked good as a reliever in 2021, and then kind of mediocre as a starter in 2022 – he opened the season with a 1.29 ERA through the end of May, but struggled to the tune of a 4.77 ERA with an even uglier 5.48 FIP over his final 17 starts before ultimately requiring offseason knee surgery. He struggled to open the 2023 season, and as of May 12, he had a 25-start stretch during which he posted a 5.13 ERA, a 20.3% strikeout rate, and a 12.6% walk rate. He'd been awful, and I was ready to drop him in all formats. 

And now, just two starts later, I'm viewing him as a must-add player in all formats:

But I'm also viewing him as a sell-high candidate for the purpose of trades. Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) 

The thing is, "Is this player worth picking up in all formats?" is a very different question than, "Will this player be good for the rest of the season?" In fact, usually, those two questions have very opposite answers. Any player who is widely available in most leagues was widely available because most people did not think they had very much value. In Kopech's case, that was for a very good reason: He was abysmal for most of the previous year, and, as you might be aware, a year is a lot bigger sample size than two starts. Our baseline assumption should be that Kopech won't be particularly useful moving forward. 

Now, that's not to say there's nothing to like about what Kopech has done. He has 19 strikeouts over 15 shutout innings over the past two starts, with just one walk and three hits allowed. And he's made tangible changes to his approach, lowering his arm slot 3-4 inches while increasing his fastball velocity, allowing the pitch to play up even more – he has a whopping 27 swinging strikes with his fastball over those two starts. 

Kopech has also tightened up the movement profile on his slider, chopping a few inches of break on both the vertical and horizontal axes while adding velocity to the pitch. That hasn't quite had as dramatic of an impact on his results, as he garnered just two whiffs with the pitch in Wednesday's start – though he was able to steal four called strikes with it, and it's possible those changes were made to improve his command of the pitch, which might be a tradeoff worth making.

Add it all up, and Kopech still kind of looks like a one-pitch pitcher, having thrown his fastball 69% of the time across these two starts. It's a very good fastball, and the tweaks he has made might be making it play up even more, as Lance Brozdowski notes here:

There are legitimate reasons to be excited about Kopech for the first time in a long time, and I've moved him way up in my rankings – he was around 100 overall among starting pitchers when I did my update last week, and he's inside of the top-70 now … which, still isn't very high. It puts him in the range of other intriguing-but-presently-limited pitchers like Edward Cabrera, Logan Allen, and Jack Flaherty, which feels about right. 

All of those guys should be rostered in all leagues, but I'm not quite ready to say any of them are definitely going to be contributors moving forward. So, when it comes to their trade value, it is necessarily limited. 

Kopech's past two starts have been incredible, the kind of stuff we've been wanting to see from him ever since he burst on the scene nearly a decade ago. Progress is rarely linear, and this might just be the start of a very delayed breakout. 

Or it might just be two good starts against two teams in the Royals and Guardians who rank 30th and 29th in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.

H2H Points leagues Trade Values

RankPlayerEligibleValueChange From Last Week
1Ronald AcunaDH-OF48
2Aaron JudgeDH-OF46
3Fernando TatisOF-SS46
4Jose Ramirez3B-DH46
5Juan SotoOF45
6Yordan AlvarezDH-OF454
7Julio RodriguezOF43
8Mookie Betts2B-OF-SS41
9Vladimir Guerrero1B-DH39
10Shohei OhtaniDH-SP39
11Kyle TuckerOF38
12Bo BichetteSS37
13Freddie Freeman1B37
14Rafael Devers3B37
15Mike TroutOF36
16Trea TurnerSS36
17Pete Alonso1B-DH36
18Bryce HarperDH361
19Gerrit ColeSP34
20Paul Goldschmidt1B-DH33
21Austin Riley3B33
22Shane McClanahanSP332
23Spencer StriderRP-SP32
24Corbin BurnesSP32
25Sandy AlcantaraSP32
26Max ScherzerSP31
27Matt Olson1B29
28Marcus Semien2B28
29Bobby Witt3B-DH-SS28
30Aaron NolaSP28
31Randy ArozarenaDH-OF28
32Zack WheelerSP28
33Nolan Arenado3B28
34Justin VerlanderSP28
35Kevin GausmanSP28
36Cedric MullinsOF28
37Emmanuel ClaseRP25
38Kyle SchwarberDH-OF25
39Framber ValdezSP25
40Luis RobertOF25
41Luis CastilloSP24
42Wander FrancoSS243
43Jacob deGromSP24
44Francisco LindorSS24-4
45Ozzie Albies2B23
46Jose Altuve2B23
47Josh HaderRP23
48Zac GallenSP23
49Bryan ReynoldsOF23
50J.T. RealmutoC21
51Yu DarvishSP21
52Will SmithC-DH21
53Adolis GarciaDH-OF20
54Shane BieberSP20
55Max Muncy2B-3B-DH20
56Corey SeagerSS20
57George SpringerDH-OF20
58Julio UriasSP19
59Devin WilliamsRP19
60Joe MusgroveSP18
61Michael HarrisOF18-5
62Xander BogaertsSS18
63Dylan CeaseSP18
64Alex Bregman3B17
65Cristian JavierSP17
66Jordan RomanoRP16
67Felix BautistaRP16
68Brandon WoodruffSP15
69Salvador PerezC-DH15
70Vinnie Pasquantino1B-DH15
71Christian Walker1B15
72Willy AdamesSS15
73Corbin CarrollOF15
74Dansby SwansonSS15
75Byron BuxtonDH-OF15
76Clayton KershawSP15
77Starling MarteOF15
78Teoscar HernandezDH-OF15
79Manny Machado3B15-5
80Pablo LopezSP15
81Ryan HelsleyRP15
82Nate Lowe1B15
83Logan WebbSP15
84Tim AndersonSS15
85Ryan PresslyRP15
86Adley RutschmanC-DH15
87Joe RyanSP15
88Sean MurphyC-DH15
89Camilo DovalRP15
90Christian YelichDH-OF15
91Kris BryantDH-OF15
92Tommy Edman2B-OF-SS151
93Matt Chapman3B15
94Anthony Rizzo1B15
95Yandy Diaz1B-3B151
96Kenley JansenRP14
97George KirbySP14
98Rowdy Tellez1B14
99Logan GilbertSP14
100Steven KwanOF14
101Carlos CorreaSS14-1
102David BednarRP141
103Nico Hoerner2B-SS141
104Eloy JimenezDH-OF132
105Jazz Chisholm2B-OF13
106Daulton VarshoC-OF13-5
107Mitch KellerSP136
108Freddy PeraltaSP131
109Chris SaleSP138
110Nestor CortesSP12-3
111Jeremy PenaSS12
112Gleyber Torres2B-DH12
113Hunter RenfroeOF121
114Anthony SantanderDH-OF11-2
115Seiya SuzukiOF11
116Hunter GreeneSP11
117Luis SeverinoSP10
118Jonathan India2B-DH10
119Nathan EovaldiSP107
120Charlie MortonSP10
121Brandon Lowe2B9
122Ian HappOF9
123Lance LynnSP9-2
124Tyler GlasnowSP9
125Alejandro KirkC-DH9-3
126Gunnar Henderson3B-SS91
127C.J. Cron1B-DH9-5
128Willson ContrerasC-DH9
129Hunter BrownRP-SP9
130Andres Gimenez2B8-7
131Brandon NimmoOF8
132Raisel IglesiasRP8
133Jose Abreu1B-DH8
134Nick CastellanosDH-OF8
135Paul SewaldRP8
136Ketel Marte2B-DH8
137Jarred KelenicOF8
138Sonny GraySP81
139Josh Bell1B-DH7
140Jesus LuzardoSP7
141Carlos RodonSP71
142Blake SnellSP6-3
143Bryce MillerSP65
144Alek ManoahSP6-9
145Chris BassittSP6
146MJ MelendezC-DH-OF6
147Taylor WardOF6
148Ryan Mountcastle1B-DH6
149Giancarlo StantonDH-OF5
150J.D. MartinezDH5
151Alexis DiazRP5
152Anthony VolpeSS5
153Tyler Stephenson1B-C-DH5
154James OutmanOF5
155Ty France1B5
156William ContrerasC-DH5
157Miguel Vargas1B-2B4
158Jose BerriosSP4
159Lucas GiolitoSP4
160Jordan MontgomerySP4
161Tony GonsolinSP4
162Alex VerdugoOF4
163Mitch HanigerOF4
164Thairo Estrada2B-SS4
165Amed RosarioSS4
166Javier BaezSS4
167Jhoan DuranRP4
168Masataka YoshidaDH-OF4
169Alec Bohm1B-3B4
170Eugenio Suarez3B3
171Jorge Polanco2B3
172Nolan Gorman2B-3B-DH31
173Max FriedSP3
174Luis Arraez1B-2B-DH3
175Josh Jung3B31
176Jeff McNeil2B-OF3
177Andrew ChafinRP3
178Anthony Rendon3B3
179Andrew Vaughn1B-DH-OF3
180Ryan McMahon2B-3B3
181Clay HolmesRP3
182Triston McKenzieSP3
183Eduardo RodriguezSP3
184Jorge SolerDH-OF3
185Cody BellingerOF3
186Jake Cronenworth1B-2B3
187Ezequiel TovarSS3
188Reid DetmersSP3
189Ke'Bryan Hayes3B3
190Alex CobbSP3
191Andrew HeaneySP3
192Josh Naylor1B-DH3
193Merrill KellySP3
194Joey Gallo1B-OF3
195David RobertsonRP2
196Lars NootbaarOF2
197Riley GreeneOF2
198Peter FairbanksRP2
199Lourdes GurrielDH-OF2
200Jon GraySP2
201Bryson Stott2B-SS22
202Eury PerezSP22
203Grayson RodriguezSP2
204Nick LodoloSP2-3
205A.J. PukRP2-1
206Jack FlahertySP2
207Michael KopechSP22
208Jorge MateoSS2
209Marcus StromanSP2
210Joc PedersonDH-OF2

Rotisserie/Categories leagues Trade Values 

RankPlayerEligibleValueChange From Last Week
1Ronald AcunaDH-OF44
2Aaron JudgeDH-OF43
3Fernando TatisOF-SS43
4Jose Ramirez3B-DH43
5Shohei OhtaniDH-SP43
6Bo BichetteSS39
7Julio RodriguezOF38
8Yordan AlvarezDH-OF383
9Juan SotoOF35
10Vladimir Guerrero1B-DH35
11Mookie Betts2B-OF-SS35
12Kyle TuckerOF34
13Rafael Devers3B34
14Freddie Freeman1B31
15Mike TroutOF31
16Pete Alonso1B-DH29
17Trea TurnerSS29
18Bryce HarperDH291
19Paul Goldschmidt1B-DH27
20Gerrit ColeSP27
21Spencer StriderRP-SP27
22Austin Riley3B27
23Bobby Witt3B-DH-SS27
24Marcus Semien2B275
25Justin VerlanderSP25
26Matt Olson1B25
27Randy ArozarenaDH-OF24
28Shane McClanahanSP24
29Corbin BurnesSP24-1
30Max ScherzerSP24
31Kevin GausmanSP24
32Sandy AlcantaraSP23
33Zack WheelerSP23
34Aaron NolaSP22
35Nolan Arenado3B21
36Emmanuel ClaseRP21
37Framber ValdezSP21
38Cedric MullinsOF20
39Luis RobertOF20
40Zac GallenSP20
41Josh HaderRP20
42Luis CastilloSP20
43Bryan ReynoldsOF18
44Kyle SchwarberDH-OF18
45Wander FrancoSS183
46Jacob deGromSP17
47Ozzie Albies2B17
48Jose Altuve2B17
49Yu DarvishSP17
50Adolis GarciaDH-OF16
51Francisco LindorSS16-2
52Will SmithC-DH16
53Corey SeagerSS15
54Joe MusgroveSP15
55Devin WilliamsRP15
56Jordan RomanoRP15
57J.T. RealmutoC15
58Max Muncy2B-3B-DH15
59Felix BautistaRP15
60Xander BogaertsSS15
61George SpringerDH-OF15
62Julio UriasSP15
63Michael HarrisOF15
64Cristian JavierSP15
65Willy AdamesSS15
66Shane BieberSP15
67Salvador PerezC-DH15
68Nate Lowe1B15
69Christian Walker1B15
70Brandon WoodruffSP15
71Alex Bregman3B15
72Starling MarteOF15
73Manny Machado3B15-3
74Ryan HelsleyRP15
75Vinnie Pasquantino1B-DH15
76Byron BuxtonDH-OF15
77Dylan CeaseSP15
78Clayton KershawSP15
79Pablo LopezSP15
80Corbin CarrollOF15
81Tim AndersonSS15
82Dansby SwansonSS15
83Logan WebbSP14-1
84Joe RyanSP14-1
85Camilo DovalRP14-1
86Gleyber Torres2B-DH14-1
87Ryan PresslyRP14
88Seiya SuzukiOF142
89Christian YelichDH-OF14
90Rowdy Tellez1B14
91Kris BryantDH-OF14
92Teoscar HernandezDH-OF14-1
93Tommy Edman2B-OF-SS142
94Nico Hoerner2B-SS14
95Sean MurphyC-DH14
96Logan GilbertSP14
97Nestor CortesSP14
98Kenley JansenRP14
99Adley RutschmanC-DH142
100David BednarRP14
101Yandy Diaz1B-3B142
102Matt Chapman3B13-1
103George KirbySP13-1
104Andres Gimenez2B13-1
105Jazz Chisholm2B-OF13
106Carlos CorreaSS13
107Eloy JimenezDH-OF132
108Daulton VarshoC-OF13-2
109Mitch KellerSP125
110Jeremy PenaSS12-1
111Anthony Rizzo1B12-1
112Anthony SantanderDH-OF12
113Jonathan India2B-DH12
114Freddy PeraltaSP12
115Chris SaleSP113
116C.J. Cron1B-DH11-4
117Nathan EovaldiSP114
118Ian HappOF11
119Tyler GlasnowSP11
120Hunter RenfroeOF11
121Raisel IglesiasRP11
122Steven KwanOF11
123Nick CastellanosDH-OF10-1
124Thairo Estrada2B-SS10-1
125Javier BaezSS10-1
126Hunter GreeneSP9-1
127Alexis DiazRP9-1
128Brandon NimmoOF9-1
129Brandon Lowe2B9
130Paul SewaldRP9
131Ryan Mountcastle1B-DH8-1
132Ty France1B8-1
133Gunnar Henderson3B-SS81
134Luis SeverinoSP8-1
135James OutmanOF8
136Christopher Morel2B-OF88
137Alex VerdugoOF8-1
138Masataka YoshidaDH-OF8-3
139Sonny GraySP8
140Ketel Marte2B-DH7-1
141Giancarlo StantonDH-OF7-1
142Jarred KelenicOF7-1
143Jose Abreu1B-DH7
144Hunter BrownRP-SP7
145Jesus LuzardoSP7
146Alek ManoahSP7-5
147Anthony VolpeSS7
148Carlos RodonSP7
149Bryce MillerSP73
150Blake SnellSP7
151Lance LynnSP7-4
152Willson ContrerasC-DH7
153J.D. MartinezDH7
154David RobertsonRP7
155Josh Bell1B-DH7
156Amed RosarioSS7
157Jose AlvaradoRP7
158Lourdes GurrielDH-OF71
159Esteury RuizOF74
160Jorge SolerDH-OF71
161MJ MelendezC-DH-OF7
162Chris BassittSP7
163Jhoan DuranRP7
164Ryan McMahon2B-3B7
165Joey Gallo1B-OF7
166Charlie MortonSP7
167Tyler Stephenson1B-C-DH7
168Alec Bohm1B-3B6-1
169Jose BerriosSP6-1
170Jorge Polanco2B6-1
171Luis Arraez1B-2B-DH6-1
172Nolan Gorman2B-3B-DH6
173Miguel Vargas1B-2B6
174Lucas GiolitoSP6
175Jeff McNeil2B-OF6
176Andrew ChafinRP6
177Jordan MontgomerySP6
178Cody BellingerOF6
179Mitch HanigerOF6
180Ke'Bryan Hayes3B6
181Carlos EstevezRP6
182Eduardo RodriguezSP6
183William ContrerasC-DH6
184Alejandro KirkC-DH6-2
185Alex CobbSP6
186A.J. PukRP6
187Max FriedSP6
188Triston McKenzieSP6
189Justin Turner1B-3B-DH63
190Josh Naylor1B-DH6
191Eugenio Suarez3B6
192Anthony Rendon3B6
193Riley GreeneOF62
194Lars NootbaarOF6
195Harrison BaderOF6
196Jarren DuranOF66
197Andrew Vaughn1B-DH-OF5-1
198Taylor WardOF5-3
199Clay HolmesRP5-1
200Jake Cronenworth1B-2B5
201Andrew HeaneySP5
202Scott BarlowRP5
203Reid DetmersSP5
204Charlie BlackmonDH-OF5
205Ezequiel TovarSS5
206Brusdar GraterolRP5
207Michael ConfortoOF41
208Joc PedersonDH-OF4-1
209Alex LangeRP4-1
210Merrill KellySP4
211Jorge MateoSS4
212Marcus StromanSP4
213Evan PhillipsRP4
214Grayson RodriguezSP4
215Will SmithRP4
216Peter FairbanksRP4
217Josh Jung3B4
218Ramon LaureanoOF4
219Eury PerezSP4
220Zach EflinSP4
221Taj BradleySP4
222Kyle FinneganRP4
223Austin HaysOF4
224Liam HendriksRP4
225Andres MunozRP4
226Jon GraySP3-1
227Jake FraleyDH-OF3-1
228Cal RaleighC-DH3-1
229Louie VarlandSP3
230Tony GonsolinSP3
231A.J. MinterRP3
232Bailey OberSP3
233Michael KopechSP33
234Whit Merrifield2B-OF3
235Bobby MillerSP33
236Francisco AlvarezC33
237Jason AdamRP3
238Randal GrichukOF3
239Travis d'ArnaudC-DH3
240Jonah HeimC3
241Nick LodoloSP3
242Joey Meneses1B-DH-OF3
243Tyler O'NeillOF3
244Tanner BibeeSP3
245Keibert RuizC3
246Spencer Steer1B-3B3
247Patrick SandovalSP3
248Miles MikolasSP3
249Bryan AbreuRP2-1
250Edward CabreraSP2-1
251Logan Taylor AllenSP2
252Yoan Moncada3B2
253Matt Mervis1B22
254Wil Myers1B-OF2-1
255Triston Casas1B2
256Danny JansenC-DH2
257Craig KimbrelRP2
258Jack FlahertySP2
259Brent RookerDH-OF22
260Jose UrquidySP2
261Graham AshcraftSP2
262DJ LeMahieu1B-2B-3B2
263Aroldis ChapmanRP2
264Adam OttavinoRP2
265Jorge LopezRP2
266Giovanny GallegosRP2