Once seen as the strongest part of the team is now seen as in need of an upgrade. The Chicago White Sox bullpen had an unbelievable 60 game stretch in 2020. Unfortunately, the ‘pen has seen some struggles in 2021.
The bullpen has not been atrocious but it’s just not as dominant as the year prior. So far this season, they have a combined ERA at 3.72 with 263 strikeouts in 222.2 innings with only 79 walks. This bullpen has been solid, but solid doesn’t win championships.
As the trade deadline inches closer, Rick Hahn and his staff are undoubtedly drawing up a game plan to address the weak spots in this 26-man roster. The lineup has holes and the trade market could be the answer to those problems. The market for relievers, on the other hand, is not as deep compared to position players.
An anomaly last season that helped contribute to the dominance of the 2020 bullpen was the midseason addition of 2020 first-round draft pick Garrett Crochet. The 6’6” southpaw from Tennessee, straight out of college, came to Chicago.
Instead of getting hit around as most would expect, Crochet pitched six innings in 2020 and recorded 18 outs. Eight of those were strikeouts. Crochet struck out the only two batters he saw in the Wild Card series against Oakland.
The Chicago White Sox could look for pitching at the 2021 MLB Draft.
Despite the small sample size, Crochet was able to make a difference despite zero Minor League experience. Who’s to say the White Sox cannot recreate a little magic? Perhaps the 22nd pick is the answer to the bullpen’s questions.
Playing in Omaha are three pitchers projected to go late in the first round. There are three pitchers in the College World Series who could help the White Sox in 2021. Vanderbilt’s flame-throwers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter are not included on this list considering the two would most likely have been drafted by the time the Sox use their 22nd pick.