The White Sox plan to keep Garrett Crochet in the Bullpen for 2023

The White Sox face some questions about their starting rotation this offseason, with the group’s lack of depth needing to be addressed from the outfield. Dylan Cease he doubled his hit in 2021 to finish second in AL Cy Young voting. He’s a real ace, while Luca Giolito And Lance Lynn they’ll be looking to bounce back from unusually mediocre seasons to re-establish themselves as above-average arms in the middle of the staff.

Michael Kopech digits to assume the rotation position n. 4, but the club doesn’t have a big option to the fifth starter after seeing Johnny Cuetto hit free agency. Davis Martin he’s the inside favorite for that role, but general manager Rick Hahn told reporters at last week’s GM meetings the club will look to plug the hole with an outside addition.

One option that doesn’t seem to be on the table is left stretching Crochet Garrett out as starter anytime next season. Pitching coach Ethan Katz told reporters this afternoon that he doesn’t “I think starting is in the cards next yearfor the 23-year-old tough pitcher (connection via the Athletic’s James Fegan). Crochet underwent Tommy John surgery last April. He’s currently aiming to throw from 120 feet, tweets MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, but still seems unlikely to be on the Opening Day roster just 12 months after being removed from surgery. Once he’s healthy, it looks like the White Sox will return him to a bullpen role he’s been very successful in in his young career.

The 11th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Crochet made his big league debut as a reliever with the Sox just months after dropping out of the University of Tennessee. He mostly remained in that role through 2021, working 54 innings and 1/3 of a 2.82 ERA balls in 54 appearances. Some thought the Sox might consider stretching Crochet into rotation work last season, but he was diagnosed with ligament damage in his elbow just days before the season started. He went under the knife just before Opening Day and didn’t pitch this year.

Crochet only made a 3 1/3 inning start his last college season. He missed the first few weeks of that season with an injury, and the pandemic led to the college baseball season being canceled almost immediately upon his return to the mound. Without a minor league campaign that year, he pitched a total of 9 1/3 innings between college and MLB. Factoring in his 54 1/3 frames last year, Crochet has just 63 2/3 innings under his belt since the end of the 2019 campaign.

With such a limited platform, it stands to reason that the White Sox would choose not to try to move him towards a rotation workload anytime in 2023. At the same time, it also raises the question of whether such a move will ever be viable. Many potential raters have suggested that Crochet might be better suited for relief work dating back to his time in Knoxville, but presumably the White Sox wouldn’t have drafted him so well had they not felt he had at least some chance to start. Tommy John’s unfortunate surgery killed any chance up to this point, and Crochet will already be through three years of MLB service by the end of next season.

Of course, Crochet can be a valuable piece of the Sox pitching staff even if he’s limited to shorter stints. He’s already demonstrated the ability to handle the big league hitters, striking out 28.3% of opponents behind a swing strike rate of 11.9% and a fastball that averaged just under 97 MPH in 2021 Crochet only once faced more than eight batters in an outing that year, but Katz has indicated the club could give him a multi-inning relief role next season.

The White Sox have some experience gradually rebuilding a talented power arm from a sustained layoff. Kopech followed a fairly similar path. Lui started in his first four league games of 2018, but underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of that year. He spent all of 2019 in rehab and then sat out the 2020 season. The Sox brought him back from that two-year absence as a multi-inning reliever, giving him 69 1/3 innings in 44 appearances in 2021. He made the switch full-time in the rotation last season, hitting 119 1/3 frames in 25 starts.

Kopech’s year was cut short by injury. Originally placed on the injured list in mid-September with a shoulder strain, he underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee just before the end of the season. The initial expectation was that the right-hander would be ready for Spring Training, and while that may still be the case, Katz admitted today that Kopech’s recovery involved “a slightly slower progression than we initially thought.” The pitching coach noted that the team still expects Kopech to have enough time to rack up up to five innings of appearances by the end of exhibition play, but any uncertainty on that front would only increase the team’s urgency to add depth. rotation this off-season.

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