When Garrett Crochet takes the mound people take notice. It is hard to miss a tall 6-6 foot left-hander that can chuck a fastball over 100 mph. It is easy for a hitter to miss said fastball.
Crochet burst onto the scene late in the season after an injury to Evan Marshall forced them to break the emergency glass and promote him to the big leagues. The southpaw from Tennessee had yet to throw a professional pitch before being thrust into the big leagues in the midst of a playoff push. That is no easy task but Crochet was up to the challenge. In six regular season appearances he fired six scoreless inning, with eight strikeouts, no walks and only allowed three hits.
He was called upon in the White Sox do or die postseason game and struck out the only two hitters he faced before exiting with an apparent forearm strain. It was revealed during Rick Hahn’s end of the season press conference that he would be ready for the upcoming season. Now the question remains where will he fit in on the White Sox roster?
Is Crochet A Major League Reliever?
Crochet was drafted 11th overall with the hopes that he would become a starting pitcher in the future. However Crochet has all the tools be be an effective late innings reliever. His fastball ranges anywhere from 96-101 mph with a high spin rate. According to MLB.com, a Baseball America poll of MLB scouting selected Crochet’s fastball as the best coming out of college. To compliment his fastball he also throws an above-average changeup and a solid slider. These are all the qualities of a high powered relief pitcher that can rack up lots of strikeouts. It would make sense for the White Sox to stick him in the bullpen for the 2021 season.
Rick Hahn has said on multiple occasions that the White Sox view him as a long term starter. But the blueprint is their for him to be a weapon out of the bullpen this year and still become the starting pitcher the White Sox were hoping for when they drafted him. Chris Sale pitched his first seasons in the White Sox bullpen before seamlessly transitioning to one of the most dominant starters in White Sox history. Crochet posses some striking similarities to Chris Sale. Both are left handed. Each has electric stuff. Both were called up the same year they were drafted and both had limited minor league and college innings. Sale had 239 innings between college and the minor leagues while Crochet only had 132 innings under his belt, all of which came while he was at Tennessee.
Staring In The Minor Leagues
The other option would be to send him down to the minors so he can get some work as a starter in. This could help aid his development while also taking a lot of pressure off of him. Crochet is a fierce competitor. During the last start of his Sophomore season at Tennessee, Crochet was drilled in the face with a line drive and suffered a broken jaw. Two weeks later he was back on the mound dominating in the NCAA Tournament. He threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four, and led the Vols to their first tournament win since 2005. Given his competitive nature if he has a say in the matter I’m sure he will want to stay in the big leagues. It would also be beneficial for him to learn from veterans like Lance Lynn and Dallas Keuchel.
The White Sox called Crochet up last season to fill a need in the bullpen. They are still in search of starting pitching depth so it is possible the White Sox call upon him to round out the bottom of the rotation with Micheal Kopech. Assuming the White Sox make no more moves the rotation would look like: Giolito, Keuchel, Lynn, Cease, Kopech/Crochet. That is a tantalizing combination of flame throwers in the mix.
Chris Getz Hints At White Sox Plans
The White Sox Player Development Director Chris Getz weighed in on the White Sox plans for Crochet. According to him managing his innings will be important heading into next year. But given his history as a starter the White Sox are going to have to be creative. They want to mold him into a starter while also letting him contribute at the big league level.
As Chris Getz puts it
“We view him as a long term starter. now what’s the best plan to get there for 2021 and 2022? Probably a little bit of bullpen, perhaps a couple of starts”.
Buckle up White Sox fans Garrett Crochet could be coming to a rotation near you.