Cooper 'ecstatic' about White Sox arms 

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CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper used the word “ecstatic” to describe the addition of left-handed pitcher Garrett Crochet and right-hander Jared Kelley one week ago via the 2020 Draft.

Cooper also was pleased by the White Sox using all five of their 2020 selections on pitching.

“When I look at our team, at the big league level, just about everybody in the field is an everyday guy. We are planning on them being everyday guys,” Cooper told during a Wednesday phone interview. “So, it seemed like the need from my angle. It might not be anybody else’s angle. Let’s continue to shore up our pitching and our Minor league system.

“If you look at it, we’ve got Gio [Lucas Giolito], Lopey [Reynaldo López], [Dylan] Cease, [Dallas] Keuchel, [Gio] González, [Michael] Kopech, [Carlos] Rodón, with some injured guys returning too in [Jimmy] Lambert and [Dane] Dunning, as well as [Jonathan] Stiever. The addition of these pitchers just makes our pitching core throughout the system stronger with an arrow next to it moving up like our team has been.”

Prior to the Draft, Cooper went through videos of seven or eight potential White Sox picks. The team selected Crochet, the hard-throwing southpaw out of Tennessee, at No. 11, and snapped up Kelley, the 12th-rated Draft prospect overall by MLB Pipeline, at No. 47 in the second round.

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Crochet stands at 6-foot-6, 218 pounds and quickly drew comparisons to Chris Sale, who was taken 13th overall by the White Sox in the 2010 Draft and reached the Majors two months later to begin an illustrious mound career. Cooper understands the comp but provided a more detailed scouting report.

“Aggressive, good live arm. Ball coming out of his hand real good,” said Cooper of Crochet. “And a hard, sharp, quick breaking ball. Those were the things that came to mind. All of those factors. Certainly, tall, lean.

“I also heard Crochet likened to MadBum [Madison Bumgarner]. MadBum and Chris Sale, prior to this injury, were on the road to maybe being Hall of Fame guys. Whenever I talk about Hall of Fame guys, I throw them out because they are the freaks, they are head and shoulders above everybody else. I’m not going to put that on this kid. Let him be Crochet and let his pitching speak for itself.”

Kelley, the equally hard-throwing 18-year-old from Refugio High School in Texas, was described by Cooper as a “big, strong kid” for openers.

“He wasn’t huffing and puffing and coming out of his shoes but a big strong kid that the ball came out of his hand good,” Cooper said. “I did see he’s probably going to need some breaking ball work like I saw with Crochet, who is going to need some changeup work. With that being said, I’m just going to blanket this.

“With any pick that comes through our system, we are going to try to maximize their physical God-given ability, their stuff. And then, we are going to try to maximize the command of that God-given ability.

“We are going to be practicing fastballs everywhere they need to be thrown with both of these guys, breaking balls to both sides of the plate, changeups, stretch position, whole windup, holding runners, all of those things will go into these kids,” Cooper added. “Like I said from the get-go, I was very happy to see us go the pitching route.”

The White Sox also selected right-handers Adisyn Coffey and Kade Mechals and left-hander Bailey Horn in the third through fifth rounds. Cooper hadn’t seen enough video to comment on those three but plans to check them out soon.

“During the season, there’s a lot of times at maybe 12:30 in the afternoon, we are down in the video room and we are just picking out Minor League guys we got. Let’s watch them,” Cooper said. “Just to get to know them more to see what they are doing, to make some evaluations on maybe what he needs to do next. So, I’ll get video on those guys.”

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