What should Garrett Crochet’s role be in 2022?
I put up my Xmas tree tonight, to much fanfare on twitter.com. I was expecting a response, but people really do have strong opinions about the particular scheduling of seasonal decorations. That being said, for someone like me, it’s either White Sox season or it’s the off-season and right now, is solidly the off-season.
In the spirit of enjoying the White Sox off-season I have been thinking about what moves the team will make to create the 2022 version. That exercise, at least for us 108ers will come to full fruition on Thursday night during the FromThe108 Podcast on YouTube when Josh Nelson from SoxMachine joins us to examine our SoxMachine Off-Season Plans. The White Sox are at the point where they are just putting the finishing touches on an already playoff bound roster. There isn’t a ton of intrigue at this point. Except for one incumbent player and that is Garrett Crochet.
Crochet was drafted 11th overall in the pandemic summer of 2020 and was basically shot out of a cannon straight to the big league roster. He made his mlb debut on September 18th of that same year in Cincinnati and started throwing 100 mph bb’s out of the bullpen from the git go. The hard throwing lefty had to be removed from his only playoff appearance of the 2020 season with some arm soreness.
The 2021 season was soon upon us and the White Sox made the decision to reprise his role as Lefty fireballer out of what was supposed to be a SUPER BULLPEN, with Liam Hendriks arriving and becoming it’s highest paid member. This despite the fact that he was drafted to be a starting pitcher and was flexed into service to help an ailing 2020 bullpen. The results were…..
….for lack of a better word, GOOD!! Despite a precipitous drop in his average fastball from 100.1 MPH to 96.7 MPH (2020 vs 2021), he still struck out 65 batters in 54 1/3 IP, with a 2.82 ERA (2.80 FIP) and a 155 ERA+ (55% better than league average). A good weapon out of the bullpen.
This is where I am at a cross-roads with what is going to happen with Crochet in 2022. I feel like there are three different universes in which Crochet provides value to the organization. Let’s take a look…
Keep coming out of the Bullpen
This is the only major league job that Garrett Crochet has ever known. He’s been pretty damn good at it, and it’s not like the White Sox are overflowing with high powered arms prancing out of this out-of-bounds patch of grass. Given that it would be his 2nd full year coming outta this place, he might be lining up for a bunch of high leverage spots as the #2 left behind the resurgent Aaron Bummer. Why not keep Crochet chugging along giving you his best 60 innings of max effort hurling?
Because you generally don’t want to spend an 11th overall pick on a player to pitch the 7th inning. Those guys usually come from non-roster invitee deals, middle round picks or lower bonused international signees. Not your 1st pick in the previous draft. I guess there’s a Chad Cordero that comes through once in a while, but he was a closer in college and stayed one. Crochet was supposed to be a starter. So, as we say in Real Estate (I’m an accountant in that domain), what is his highest and best use? Is it this? Or…..
Send him to the American South to become a Starting Pitcher
That’s right!! The White Sox could send Crochet to one of their affiliates in the American South, allow him to forego his major league salary, per diems and first class accommodations to ride a bus and make peanuts. That’s the way you get him stretched out and working on a 3rd pitch to deceive major league hitters. Doesn’t sound too glamorous if you ask me. However, this is probably the way that Crochet has the highest upside for himself.
The downside however is that given that he only threw 54 1/3 IP in the regular season, it’s not likely he’s going to be throwing much more than lets say 120 IP in 2022 going this path. Most, if not all of those would be for minor league affiliates although I would think the plan would be to have him come north late in the season and pick up work in 2-3 inning spurts leading up to him rejoining the bullpen at the end of the year.
That’s a scenario you really have to hope on, because you won’t get a lot of value from him in 2022 on the big league club and given his injury history, you might get zero value. Playing the long game can have it’s drawbacks.
I only used a picture of Jerry DiPoto because he’s made more sketchy trades than Societe Generale. That’s besides the point. The White Sox could choose to trade Crochet to a team that is committed to him being a starting pitcher and seeing through the upside that path entails. If the White Sox are at all skittish about sending him down that path, but know other organizations believe in him as a future starting pitcher, it could be a way for the White Sox to cash in a valuable trade chip and help the 2022 and 2023 iterations of this contending club.
If I am being completely honest with you, I have no clue what he would fetch on the trade market. On one hand, you have a pretty damn good lefty reliever that has started accumulating service time (a little over a year at time of this post) and is expected to be arbitration eligible for the 2024 season. He’s dealt with some minor injuries in his only 2 years in the pros. That’s a continuation of a far from flawless health record at Tennessee.
He also has the potential to become a starter and all of the unknowable outcomes that could bring, between top end ace and washed out has been. The path to making him a starter is hardly risk free, so I am hesitant to say that the lower bound on a transaction like this is “good lefty reliever”. It’s an interesting calculus on what Crochet’s value is to the White Sox in this vain. He’s a volatile asset. Can you get a team to buy the upside? If so, you might have a real game changer in a deal.
What would you do Beef?
If I’m being honest. I am very intrigued by the trade potential.
Using Crochet out of the bullpen is just fine, but it’s probably less value to the White Sox than a trade where you find the right partner. The route of sending him down to the minors to make him a starting pitcher just seems like it will gestate too long to line up well with the current core’s window (I set that window through 2023, when Abreu, Grandal and Giolito are all out of contract as of right now). I could be wrong.
What say you?
I say either keep him in the bullpen till he can develop more pitches to become a starter or trade him for something we will need in the long run