In order to have a championship-caliber team in 2022, Major League Baseball teams need outstanding bullpens. If they don’t have one of those, they have no chance of winning the World Series. The Chicago White Sox has a really good one that could be even better.
In 2021, Michael Kopech was used as a superweapon in the bullpen. He is a pitcher with starter caliber stuff that was being used in the pen to ease him back into the mix following a lot of missed time.
He was absolutely sensational in this role but now it is time to ease him back into the role of a starter. That is going to come in 2022 as the White Sox are ready for him to take that next step. It should be really cool to see him back on the mound as a starter.
With Kopech out of the pen, however, there is a new hole in the unit that needs to be replaced. The White Sox signed Kendall Graveman who should be an outstanding addition to the group that already includes Liam Hendriks, Garrett Crochet, and Aaron Bummer amongst others.
The Chicago White Sox needs Garrett Crochet to take on a big role in 2022.
It will be interesting to see what happens with guys like Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera before the season begins. If they are a part of the bullpen as well, this group could be very good. Garrett Crochet is probably the person who takes on the hole that Kopech leaves behind by transitioning to a starter.
Kopech’s role involved being a power pitcher that bridged the starter to the late-inning guys. He was able to use his velocity to take people down over multiple innings of work. Crochet can do that. He earns strikeouts with a combination of his high-velocity fastball combined with devastating breaking stuff.
As he develops into an even better pitcher as he gets older, he should have the stuff he needs to be a starter but growing into this role of the superweapon is a great step. If he is needed to make a start every now and again, don’t be surprised if he does.
It is great to see Crochet progress like this. The pandemic in 2020 was a big reason he made his Major League debut in the same year. He probably wouldn’t have even done that to this point if the pandemic never happened.
He will never pitch anywhere else, however, as he doesn’t even look slightly out of place in the big leagues. The fact that he is this good already should really scare the rest of the league. We will see if he is able to handle this role in 2022.