The Chicago White Sox clinched their first postseason berth in 12 years earlier this week and now they're going to spend the final 10 days of the regular season auditioning one of their top prospects for the postseason roster. The ChiSox called up left-hander Garrett Crochet on Friday, the team announced. He is the first 2020 draftee to reach MLB.
Here's what GM Rick Hahn told reporters, including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, about the decision to summon Crochet from the alternate site:
"We want to see what he has to offer over the course of the next 10 days," Hahn said.
"The stuff speaks for itself. We know the stuff will play long term. We're just going to see his composure and ability to attack big league hitters. It's not a small task. We felt given the ability and tools it was a worthwhile opportunity to see if he could be a fit for us."
Crochet, 21, was the No. 11 overall pick in the draft this past June. He made only one start and threw 3 1/3 innings at the University of Tennessee this spring because of a sore shoulder, but Crochet has been working out at the White Sox's alternate site these last few weeks, so they've seen him up close and are comfortable exposing him to the big leagues.
A few weeks ago our R.J. Anderson identified Crochet as a candidate to rocket to the majors this season, and he mentioned the White Sox as a team that could swing such a move. A decade ago Chicago selected Chris Sale with the No. 10 pick in the 2010 draft, then brought him to the big leagues only a few weeks later. Here's a snippet of R.J.'s scouting report:
To Crochet's credit, he does have the essential attributes teams desire in their starters: a big frame (6-foot-6), a strong arm (he can flirt with triple digits), and an out pitch (his slider). Should he fail in the rotation, he'd probably make a mighty fine setup man.
Crochet is the first player to be called up to MLB the same year he was drafted since Brandon Finnegan in 2014. The Royals selected Finnegan in the No. 17 overall pick in the 2014 draft, then brought him up in September. He was a member of their postseason bullpen that year, including throwing 2 1/3 innings in the Wild Card Game win over Athletics.
The minor league season was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so Crochet is jumping to the big leagues without a single minor league game to his credit. He is the first player to do that since Mike Leake in 2010, though Leake was drafted in 2009 and played in the Arizona Fall League before making the Reds' Opening Day roster in 2010.
Crochet is the first player to bypass the minors entirely since Xavier Nady in 2000, though Nady's call-up was written into this contract with the Padres. Mike Morgan and Tim Conroy are the last pitchers to go straight to the big leagues in their draft year with zero minor league experience. They did it in 1973. Now Crochet has done it in 2020.
The White Sox have the American League's best record at 33-17. They have already clinched a postseason spot, and their magic number to clinch the AL Central title is seven. They have a three-game lead over the Twins.