In the midst of a tie game in the eighth inning between the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, the gates of the left-field bullpen swung open. “Renegade” by Styx began to blare over the Guaranteed Gate Field speakers meant it was Garrett Crochet time.
The Chicago White Sox has seen Garrett Crochet dominate because of his pitch mix.
Garrett Crochet time has been scarce over the past month. At the end of April, he was placed on the injury list with an upper back strain. He only pitched 4.2 innings in May. Most of Crochet’s appearances were spread out leaving many scratching their heads as to why the flamethrower was not being used. With Micheal Kopech on the shelf and other relievers such as Evan Marshall struggling, the White Sox needed someone out of the bullpen to step up.
Crochet has answered the call. In his past four outings, Crochet has been thrust into some high leverage situations and rose to the occasion. On May 30th he was called upon to preserve a two-run lead in the eighth inning against the Orioles.
He disposed of all three hitters he faced in short order and only needed nine pitches to do so. On June 1st, the White Sox needed someone to put up zeros while the offense tried to come back in Cleveland. Crochet threw two scoreless frames and recorded two strikeouts.
On June 4th he played a critical role in the White Sox victory over the Tigers. After Yasmani Grandal tied the game in the seventh inning with a solo home run, the White Sox had all the momentum. Garrett Crochet was put into the game to keep the score tied and turn it back to the offense.
Crochet worked around a single in the eighth inning then recorded two out in the ninth before passing the baton to Liam Hendriks. He punched out three Tigers hitters by lighting up the radar gun with fastballs of 98 and 97 mph. He sandwiched those with a nasty slider to strike out Derek Hill.
Tuesday night provided fans with another electric outing from Crochet. Three Blue Jays hitters came to the plate and all three headed back to the dugout in disappointment. Teoscar Hernandez watched as a 98 mph fastball buzzed past him for strike three. Randal Grichuk lined out to centerfield and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. whiffed at a slider. The offense erupted for five runs in the ninth inning and Crochet was rewarded with his second win of the season.
Garrett Crochet dominating on the mound has been nothing new. In fact, it has come to be expected. Crochet is the first White Sox pitcher to allow one earned run or less over his first 22 career appearances and the first in the majors since Robby Scott did it for the Red Sox in 2017. Crochet has a career ERA of 0.37 and opponents are hitting just .193 off of him. He is virtually unhittable.
With a tall 6’6″ frame, he is an imposing figure on the mound. His high leg kick makes his delivery incredibly deceptive for opposing hitters. Making things even more uncomfortable for the hitter is the fact that Crochet can throw in triple digits. In 2020 his average fastball velocity was 100.1 mph.
This season Crochet has developed into more of a pitcher than a thrower. He has dialed his fastball velocity back a notch this season for accuracy. His average four-seam fastball speed in 2021 is 96.8 mph but he has complemented it by throwing more offspeed pitches. He throws his slider 19.1 percent of the time which is 8.5 percent more than he did in 2020. Crochet is also mixing in his changeup 12.1 percent of the time which up 7.4 percent from last year.
Garrett Crochet is still projected to be a starting pitcher in the future. For now, he is a luxury out of the bullpen for Tony La Russa. As Crochet continues to mature on the mound, it could spell bad news for the rest of the league.