The Chicago White Sox knew going into the MLB draft that if they wanted to start getting serious about competing in 2020 and beyond, they have to start shoring up the pitching staff. So with the 11th overall pick, they went for 6’6 Tennessee lefty Garrett Crochet. Don’t be fooled by the last name. There is nothing soft about this kid. He throws upwards of 98 to 100 mph on his fastball and couples it with a nasty slider. He can be an intimidating presence out of the bullpen.
Want to know just how tough and gritty he is. Last year, he was in a game against Ole Miss when he took a line drive to the face. The blow fractured his jaw, requiring surgery to realign it. Most would’ve understood if he’d called it a season. There were only five games left in the schedule after all. Crochet wasn’t having it.
Just two weeks later he was back in the pen and got called in to pitch against UNC-Wilmington. He went 2 and 1/3 innings, gave up two hits, no runs, and struck out four to earn the victory. The next day, he went another 3 and 2/3 innings with five hits and three runs allowed, striking out five.
Tennessee won 6-5 in extra innings.
White Sox recognized right away Crochet belonged in Chicago
It’s not hard to see why the kid was coveted by the White Sox. His gritty style of play is perfect for Chicago. Never mind the fact he has a pitching style similar to Chris Sale. The truth is if it had been his decision, he’d have kept playing even with the busted jaw.
“From the point I got hit in the face, I felt like I was ready to go, to be honest,” Crochet said. “… It was definitely exciting to get back out there. I’ve been looking forward to it all week, just making sure that I put myself in a good position to be able to compete for my team, and I’m glad I was able to do a good job for us.”
Crochet is obviously a competitor. He loves baseball. Nobody would put up with that kind of pain if they didn’t. Having somebody like that on the roster is never a bad thing. Belief is the 20-year old is already good enough for a bullpen spot in the majors right now. Odds are that won’t happen. Still, it will be fun to see him in black and white before too long.