There will be a duel of rookies tonight at Target Field in Minnesota, with Twins lefty Adalberto Mejia taking on Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey. This will be Covey’s major league debut. Let’s take a look at what to expect.
Covey was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round in 2010, but decided not to sign after being diagnosed with diabetes. Instead he went to the University of San Diego, then was drafted again by the Oakland Athletics in 2013 as a fourth-rounder. He got off to a fine start in 2016 with a 1.84 ERA in 29 innings in Double-A, but went on the DL in May with a strained oblique and never came off.
The Athletics left him off the 40-man roster last fall and he was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the White Sox. Covey ranked 14th on the Minor League Ball Top 20 Chicago White Sox prospects for 2017 list with the following commentary:
14) Dylan Covey, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25; fourth round pick in 2013 by Athletics; posted 1.84 ERA in 29 Double-A innings with 26/17 K/BB until going down with strained oblique; selected in December 2016 Rule 5 draft and must stick on roster; fastball 88-95 with good action low in zone; plus change-up along with fair curve and slider; could be nice grounder-generating long reliever who can start if needed. ETA 2017.
Covey was not particularly successful in spring training, posting a 7.82 ERA in 12.2 innings with a 6/4 K/BB and 22 hits allowed. Nevertheless, the White Sox chose to take him north. He’ll have to stay on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to Oakland.
He averaged 93 MPH with the fastball this spring but the Sox saw enough in his curve, slider/cutter, and change-up to give them hope that he can survive despite his up-and-down spring. He admitted to “definitely feeling the stress” at times during training camp but was effective late as he settled in.
It will boil down to command for Covey. Although his stuff isn’t exceptional, it is solid enough to succeed if he locates it properly. He projects as a number five starter but if used in the bullpen he could be more dominant on a per-inning basis.