Garrett Crochet emerged as one of the most lethal weapons in the Chicago White Sox bullpen last season. Crochet burst onto the scene during his 2020 rookie season without even playing a Minor League game.
The White Sox drafted him 11th overall in the 2020 Draft but when injuries riddled the bullpen, Rick Hahn decided to break the emergency glass and roll the dice with Crochet. He did not disappoint. The flame thrower was second in the MLB with 45 pitches over 100+ mph. In six innings pitched he did not allow a run.
Fans were expecting more of the same in 2021. He got off to a fast start. Crochet only gave up one run through the first two months of the season and didn’t allow his first home run until June. However, he seemed to hit a bit of a rough patch in June posting a 6.10 ERA in 10.2 innings of work. It was the worst month of the season for him but he was able to turn it around in August.
Tony La Russa began to show more trust in him late in the year having him appear in 11 games in August and September which was his highest usage rate of the season. In August he tossed 14 innings and held opponents to a .180 batting average.
Garrett Crochet has been outstanding in Major League Baseball so far.
The 22-year-old Southpaw finished the season with a 2.82 ERA, 65 strikeouts, and a 1.27 WHIP. He also finished in the 94th percentile of all MLB pitchers in barrel percentage and 92nd percentile in expected slugging percentage. Both are considered well above the Major League average.
Crochet leans heavily on his four-seam fastball, throwing it 64.3 percent of the time. Interestingly enough, after throwing 52.9 percent of his pitches over 100 mph in 2020, his fastball average velocity dipped to 96 mph in 2021. After leaving Game 3 of the American League Wild Card Series with left elbow tightness, his velocity hasn’t been the same.
His high leg kick and deceptive release seemed to be enough to compensate for the drop 3.4% drop in four-seam velocity. His fastball velocity still ranked in the 92nd percentile of all MLB pitchers.
When Crochet got into trouble it was because of command issues. Opponents are only hitting .206 off of him. But in 2021, he handed out 27 free passes and hit two batters. The key to his success will be commanding his slider better and gaining more trust in his changeup.
A changeup is a pitcher’s best friend, especially when they throw as hard as Crochet does. However, Crochet only threw it 7.9 percent of the time. Out of the 72 times that he did throw it, he recorded six strikeouts and had a 38.2 whiff percentage.
His slider was his most lethal weapon. It is a big sweeping slider that has 37 inches of drop. With a 33.1 percent rate, it was his most successful put-away pitch in 2021 and netted him 41 strikeouts. The one downside was his slider was hit hard 32.3 percent of the time which is a bit too high for a putaway pitch.
Crochet is still a young pitcher that will only improve. With no time to develop in the Minor Leagues, he had to learn on the fly in the Major Leagues while on a team in the thick of a pennant race. That is not an easy task and Crochet handled it well.
He still projects to be a starter down the road but next season he will probably be used as a versatile reliever to bridge the gap to the eighth and ninth innings.