Crochet 'checked a lot of boxes' in first career start

April 2nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Scott Merkin’s White Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CHICAGO -- The second act of ’s first season as a White Sox starter is scheduled to take place Tuesday night against the Braves -- assuming the rain, snow, wind and cold temperatures halt long enough to play baseball.

But Brian Bannister, the organization’s senior advisor to pitching, already took note of Crochet’s performance in Chicago’s 1-0 loss against the Tigers on Opening Day.

“He always had the stuff. I loved him back in college in the Draft,” Bannister told “... He was fast-tracked to the big leagues, so he hasn’t had the time to develop as a starter.

“To come out and put on a performance like that [was impressive], silence anybody that was negative on him and really put up a performance equal [to Tarik Skubal]. ... And to match him blow for blow was really impressive. Just the poise, his ability to stay in counts.

“I never felt personally like he was ever going to walk somebody and that’s something you want to see in starting pitchers,” Bannister added. “He checked a lot of boxes. He did a lot of positive things. It’s definitely a start to build on, and to do it on the big stage on Opening Day was very impressive.”

Crochet, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 Draft by the White Sox, began his Major League career out of the bullpen that same year. Coming into 2024 Opening Day, he had 72 career appearances covering 73 innings in relief. In his first career start last week, he struck out eight and walked no batters in six innings of one-run baseball against Detroit.

Managing his innings over the course of a full campaign has been a frequently discussed topic during Crochet’s venture into the rotation. Bannister spoke of the White Sox sports performance group being one of the essential areas in dealing with Crochet’s workload.

“Everybody is going to support him and maintain his body,” Bannister said. “I’ve had multiple pitchers in this scenario, and you just ask them to be honest on how they are feeling.

“We can cut back in between start workload, the amount of pitches thrown in the 'pen, how hard you throw your 'pens. It’s just to give that additional recovery time as he’s getting used to his role and as we look forward to over the next six months keeping him as healthy as possible.”

Bannister added that this scenario applies to more pitchers than people think.

“A lot of time it’s guys coming back from Tommy John,” Bannister said. “Young guys who pitched only once a week in college, or a very limited Minor League sample, that all of a sudden are pitching every five days and expecting to do it for six months. They’ve never had to do that.

“Workload management, innings limits. It’s a topic. [Stephen] Strasburg was the famous one coming up. We’ve had different variations.”

A big Spring Training step for Crochet was his ability to get the ball in the zone, according to Bannister. Prior to the 2024 season, Crochet had worked with an arsenal of four-seam fastball, slider and a lesser-used changeup.

Against the Tigers, Crochet threw a four-seamer 40 times with an average velocity of 97.6 mph, threw the slider 36 times and mixed in a cutter (seven pitches) with the changeup (four pitches), according to Statcast.

“He’s become a more well-rounded pitcher with an arsenal that’s worthy of a starting pitcher,” Bannister said. “We are still brainstorming ways to get in the zone, to get it to complement the sweeping breaking ball, but having three pitches as a lefty that throws 99 [mph] is plenty.

“You see other guys that are up there in the Cy Young running as power lefties, and a lot of times they can get there with just a fastball and a slider. So having four pitches is not a necessity with that kind of velocity and that kind of stuff, especially with his big extension.

“Getting a fourth pitch in there, he can just show and keep hitters honest,” Bannister added. “It keeps them off the fastball. It gives him the ability to turn the lineup over multiple times successfully.”