Crochet earns 1st All-Star selection after dominant start

July 7th, 2024

MIAMI -- From reliever to starter to All-Star.

In just the past year, that’s the path has traveled, culminating with the White Sox ace earning his first All-Star selection as announced on Sunday. The journey included a first-round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft out of the University of Tennessee, an arrival in the Majors just two months later, then Tommy John surgery in ‘22 and the ensuing recovery process.

Crochet’s transition to the rotation has been exceptionally exceptional, considering it began with the 25-year-old’s initial push to move into the starter’s role despite having thrown 73 innings in his three-year MLB career. It was his commitment, along with trust in his high-end stuff, that made Crochet one of the game’s top starters in the first half.

“I know it’s been said a lot, but going back to Spring Training, thinking I was going to start the year in [Triple-A] Charlotte and building up my innings, to knowing I made the rotation to knowing it was going to be Opening Day,” said Crochet following his team’s 7-4 loss to the Marlins on Sunday. “You know, having it culminate in being an All-Star is a really cool feeling.”

“He worked extremely hard this offseason,” White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said. “Obviously open-minded to everything coming into it. My biggest thing was being mindful about his workload. Going into it, he wanted to do a lot very early. And just kind of taming the beast a little bit.”

Crochet leads the Majors with 146 strikeouts, just ahead of the Dodgers’ Tyler Glasnow (143), who is also an All-Star. Crochet has a 6-6 record for a team sitting 40 games under .500, along with a 3.08 ERA and just 23 walks over what is easily a career-high 105 1/3 innings pitched.

Since April 24, when Crochet’s ERA sat at 6.37, he has a 5-2 record with a 1.78 ERA and a 1.77 FIP. Crochet has 106 strikeouts against 15 walks over 75 2/3 innings across his 13 starts in that time.

Manager Pedro Grifol read off these numbers and many more upon announcing Crochet’s All-Star selection in the clubhouse Sunday.

“What I said was, in an industry where everyone thought he was a reliever, he thought he was a starter,” Grifol said. “Now he’s probably one of the top five starters in the game -- and not only is he a starter, he’s an All-Star.

“Credit goes to him, our pitching guys and everybody that’s been a part of him getting to this point. I’m really proud of him.”

Crochet has thrown 937 four-seam fastballs, averaging 97 mph according to Statcast. He also has thrown 457 cutters, and while he mixes in a devastating slider and changeup as well, his trust in those fastballs has made him overpowering.

Let’s not forget his development as a leader.

“It’s something that happens naturally. It’s not anything I think about,” Crochet said. “I try to lead these guys the best I can. We are all human and we all make mistakes. To be honest, we all lean on [Erick] Fedde and [Chris] Flexen a lot for that. Those guys have been around professional baseball a lot longer than we have.”

“There’s a lot of leadership qualities that he’s displaying right now,” Katz said. “He’s realized how good he is, which at this level takes some time. It’s kind of infectious to everybody else. They are kind of seeing how he’s going about his business.”

Maintaining that level of excellence is far from an afterthought for Crochet, when factoring in the jump from 12 2/3 innings in 2023 to his current elevated total and whatever his final total is in ‘24.

“He probably has it harder than every starter in the big leagues, in the sense of with his workload, his day to day, every single day even when he’s not pitching, how he has to take care of his body,” Katz said. “Being diligent to be able to recover. All these things.

“We were in Detroit and he was sitting in the sun, and we were pulling him underneath, ‘You can’t sit here.’ Little things like that, to make sure that he’s taking care of his body as much as he can, and he’s doing everything really well.”

The White Sox are ensuring Crochet’s availability to pitch in Texas on July 16. A smiling Crochet said he isn’t worried about the results.

“I could give up five homers and I don’t really care,” Crochet said. “It is what it is. Just excited to put the jersey on and kind of go through all the festivities.”