Drafted in June, Crochet hits 101 in debut

September 19th, 2020

Chicago catcher James McCann was warming up before the southpaw’s Major League debut during a 7-1 loss to the Reds Friday night when home-plate umpire Mark Carlson asked about the team’s top pick in the 2020 Draft and the No. 4 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

“Mark Carlson, the umpire, asked him a little bit of Crochet's history,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria, following the rookie's overpowering debut. “This is his first game professionally, period. He said, ‘You think he should be here?’ and [McCann] goes, ‘Well, you let me know after the inning.’

“So then Mac went back after the inning and warmed up Cish [Steve Cishek] and Mark Carlson said, ‘Yeah, I think he's OK. He should be here.’ Pretty much, there you go. That's the story in a nutshell. He's pretty good.”

Crochet had his contract purchased from the team’s Schaumburg, Ill., alternate training site. He was informed by Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper about getting into Friday night’s game even before the series opener began.

The 21-year-old threw six pitches at 100 mph or harder in the sixth, the second most by a White Sox pitcher in an outing in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). No Chicago pitcher had reached 100 mph in ‘20 before he did tonight. Crochet fanned Brian Goodwin and Jose Garcia in a perfect frame.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty hard to put into words,” Crochet said. “Something I didn’t necessarily foresee for myself a year ago today. But it’s something that’s been kind of building up, and it’s something I was looking forward to. Just glad I was able to get out there today.

“I’ve kind of been thinking about it every day and night since I was added to the alternate training site of what it would look like for me to make my debut, and if I could potentially do it this year. So my confidence was steadily rising throughout that entire time as I continued to visualize it over and over again. After tonight, it’s still going up.”

General manager Rick Hahn said that Crochet will get a look out of the bullpen during these final 10 games to see if his 100 mph fastball from the left side can help the White Sox in the postseason. He is the first player from the 2020 Draft class to reach the Majors.

“This is not entirely unanticipated,” said Hahn during his Friday pregame Zoom session. “At the time when [director of amateur scouting] Mike Shirley and his group identified Garrett as a candidate for our first-round pick in 2020, it was with the possibility that he could conceivably help us out in the 'pen this season. He's done an excellent job in Schaumburg.”

The organization still views Crochet as a starter in the long-term. Chris Sale, to whom Crochet was frequently compared when he was selected 11th overall this year, made the jump from the Draft to the White Sox bullpen over just two months in 2010. Sale transitioned to the rotation in '12 and was an All-Star for seven straight seasons.

As a junior at the University of Tennessee, Crochet threw only 3 1/3 scoreless innings before the season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. His first official professional game was Friday night.

“I definitely didn’t expect it to go this way,” Crochet said. “But being out of competitive baseball for that long and being able to jump back in at the Major League level was awesome.

“My body felt weightless. I felt like I was on top of the world and just truly living the dream.”

Marshall placed on IL
Right-handed reliever Evan Marshall was placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Sept. 15) with right shoulder inflammation. Marshall will be eligible to return for the start of the final regular-season series against the Cubs on Sept. 25.

Marshall, 30, is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA, eight holds, 29 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings and a .205 opponents average over 22 relief appearances this season. He is tied for eighth in strikeouts among American League relievers.

“Obviously, we've worked Evan fairly hard here over the last couple of months,” Hahn said. “Giving him a little bit of a break here, given the discomfort he felt the other day in his shoulder, makes all the sense in the world to us.”

The White Sox also designated right-handed pitcher Ian Hamilton for assignment, leaving their 40-man roster at 40 players.

Bummer, Rodón working for return
The bullpen addition of Crochet from the left side does not rule out southpaws Aaron Bummer and Carlos Rodón from returning and helping the White Sox in the final week and the postseason. Bummer, one of the AL’s top relievers in 2019, has been on the IL with a nerve issue near his biceps tendon.

Rodón was originally put on the IL with left shoulder soreness, but he has also dealt with back issues of late. Bummer is with the team in Cincinnati, and Rodón continues working in Schaumburg.

“They each still have a couple more hurdles to clear,” Hahn said. “Ideally, we get the opportunity to see them both active before the end of the season and then make an informed decision about all of our lefties when it comes time to set the postseason roster.”

Hahn added the team probably won’t be able to set its playoff roster until the deadline to do so.