We are getting closer and closer to Draft Day! We still have a lot of things to look at and players to evaluate before we get there. Today is another top arm out of the SEC. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the SEC is the best conference for college baseball from top to bottom in the nation. Every team has a very capable staff and offense. To win the league, you truly have to be legit.
Garrett Crochet is this year’s Chris Sale comp. Crochet is 6’6”, throws from a low three-quarters slot, is 95 to 100, has a knee-buckling slider that literally takes a right turn just before it gets to the strike zone, and makes hitters extremely uncomfortable. This would be where we cue the Randy Johnson v. John Kruk GIF.
Injury concerns are all over Crochet because he only made one start this spring due to some shoulder soreness coming out of January bullpens. Crochet has had some time off now and that should help clear up any issues as long as it was just soreness. In his only start against Wright State on March 7, Crochet went 3.1 innings giving up no runs, 2 hits and striking out 6 throwing just 40 pitches. The scouting contingent at the game was not very high and this will depress his value slightly. That being said, he is not making it to the Royals at 32.
Crochet had excellent control of his fastball glove side in that outing. Some guys are arm side guys and some are glove side guys. Crochet seems to be a glove side guy. What I mean is which side a pitcher has their best fastball control on.
Crochet starts on the third base side of the rubber but steps toward the left-handed batter’s box throwing across his body from a low three-quarters angle. The technique seems to be hard on people’s shoulders who have thrown this way in the past so there is some concern with the shoulder soreness from earlier. Again, this will probably depress where he is selected.
His windup seems tough to replicate because he uses a straight leg kick when he lifts his leg. It looks almost like an NFL punter. Crochet is still smooth to the plate even with the high leg kick and cross-body stride. Crochet also has shortened up his arm action and it is incredibly quick.
As a sophomore last year, Crochet’s velocity was hovering from 91 to 95. This fall when he got back on campus in Knoxville, Crochet wowed everyone when he started throwing straight cheddar and was clocked in triple-digits. In his only start, Crochet hit 99 several times while working 95 to 97 consistently. The fastball comes in at an extreme angle deep from the second base side of the field. It has some late arm side movement that plays havoc on the structural integrity of opponent’s bats.
Crochet throws three off speed pitches starting with his slider. The slider is his bread and butter. The pitch breaks hard into right-handed hitters. Lefties almost have no chance when this pitch takes that right turn on it’s way to the plate. The slider is elite.
Crochet throws a slower breaking curve. He only threw it one time in his Wright State start but it is slower and has a different break than the horizontal break of the slider. The curve is more vertical. It may benefit Crochet to throw this more as a starter, but honestly he hasn’t needed the curve.
The last of the four is the change up. Crochet has excellent arm speed when he throws this pitch which helps to hide it. He turns it over well creating big sink and arm side movement. The pitch runs away from right-handed hitters leaving them swinging at nothing. Because Crochet throws so hard, the change is still hard but has good separation from his fastball velocity at 88 to 90.
Like previously stated, Crochet creates an uncomfortable at bat for hitters. Because of his arm angle, the angle at which the ball approaches the plate, and his movement, Crochet creates a lot of ground balls and weak contact.
Crochet is a nuclear engineering major. There is little doubt he can take that intelligence with him to the field. Whether he is preparing for a start or applying his stuff to an opposing lineup, Crochet brings the strong work ethic he has used in the classroom to the field. Crochet is also a self proclaimed competitor and will do whatever he can to give himself a competitive advantage in his preparation again showing a propensity for work ethic.
Crochet could be a guy that might take a sweet deal to really free up some money for the Royals later in the draft. He is a guy that has huge upside but also some very high risk. Crochet has major league stuff but like most guys that are talked about this high in the draft, the question isn’t about his stuff but health and ability to repeat his delivery. If everything goes together correctly, the payoff could be really high for whoever drafts him.
Read about other potential draft picks here!
Image from the Daily Times and used courtesy of the Tennessee Sports department.