Going into the MLB Draft on Wednesday, White Sox fans seemed to be split on who the team would draft at the eleventh spot. Many fans wanted LHP Reid Detmers, but thought he would not be available at eleven. They were right, as Detmers was selected tenth by the Los Angeles Angels. Some fans wanted RHP Mick Abel and OF Heston Kjerstad. Abel was trending up over the past week, but the White Sox have be known to draft college players over prep players. Abel was selected fifteenth overall by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kjerstad would fill the need for OF depth in the minor league organization for the White Sox, but was surprisingly taken second overall by the Baltimore Orioles. There were rumors early Wednesday that the White Sox wanted LHP Garrett Crochet, but many thought it would be a potential ‘smokescreen’ by the organization, but Crochet ended up being the pick.
The 20 year old left-hander, standing at 6’6″ and 218 lbs, was entering his junior year at the University of Tennessee, before COVID-19 ended the season. Crochet has drawn comparisons to a name White Sox fans are well-aware of, Chris Sale. Drawing a similar pitching motion and pitch-repertoire to Sale, that makes Sox fans excited. Crochet throws a fastball that was around 95-97 MPH, but touched triple digits last fall and during workouts over the past couple of months, and is looked at as his best pitch. Crochet will fit in with the pitchers such as Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease, who have a similar projection. His secondary pitch is a slider, which sits around 84-86 MPH. His two primary pitches are followed by a change-up, which MLB.com defines as “well above average” and “around 90 mph with deceptive arm speed.” He has also shown a curveball, which Prospects Live defines as, “More 12-6 drop than you’d expect from a lefty with his arm action and release point. Reluctantly grading the pitch but need more viewings.” With the development of his 4th pitch, Crochet looks to be in the starting rotation, but could also project into the bullpen, only starting in 13 of his 36 games at Tennessee, Crochet would not be a stranger to a role in the bullpen, similar to someone like Andrew Miller.
One of the main questions regarding Crochet was due to being limited in the short college season due to a shoulder injury, but he has been throwing during the past couple of months. One of the things that cannot be questioned regarding Crochet is his toughness. At the end of the 2019 season, Crochet was hit in the jaw by a line drive, then pitched in the NCAA Regional twice. People have said that Crochet is ready for MLB action, and could be called up to the majors by September if the team was competing for the postseason, although it is unknown how the delayed start to the season will effect that. With that being said, White Sox fans should expect to see the 6’6″ lefty within the next couple of years, and there is reason to be excited for his arrival.
From the White Sox point-of-view, they add another talented arm to their already strong depth of pitchers in the system. You can never have too many pitchers, and this gives them an option for the future if they move on from Carlos Rodon or Reynaldo Lopez, as well if the team decides to pass on Gio Gonzalez‘s team option in 2021. Kopech, Cease, Lucas Giolito, and Dallas Keuchel are going to be in the starting rotation for the foreseeable future, so this allows Crochet to be in a position to be in the starting rotation as soon as next season.