Major leagues? Minor leagues? Starting rotation? Bullpen?
There are a lot of places Garrett Crochet could end up pitching in 2021.
General manager Rick Hahn outlined those possibilities in his end-of-season press conference back in October, making the cases for Crochet returning to the big league bullpen — where he dominated in a brief stint at the close of the 2020 campaign — and for sending him to the minor leagues to work on becoming what the White Sox envision him one day becoming: an impact member of the starting staff.
White Sox fans will obviously have a preference: whatever makes him part of the major league club in 2021.
It seems the team's new pitching coach might have some good news, then.
"He’s going to be a big part of what we do next year," Ethan Katz told Our Chuck Garfien on the White Sox Talk Podcast.
Crochet dropped jaws with his 101 mile an hour fastball, blowing away big league hitters and doing it just months after being selected in the first round of the draft. With most of his collegiate season at the University of Tennessee and the entirety of the minor league season wiped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crochet barely pitched at all in 2020 and didn't play in any professional games before making his major league debut.
Not long after, he was on the mound in a postseason game, though that ended in frightening fashion, Crochet lifted due to an injury plenty feared would be significant. The White Sox got some relieving news on that front, though, with Hahn reporting that Crochet will be ready to go for spring training.
According to Katz, the 21-year-old fireballer is already hard at work.
"He’s dedicated himself. He’s in Arizona, full time. He’s preparing, getting ready for the season. He’s throwing right now, everything’s feeling good," Katz said. "What he did from (being) drafted to showing up in the big leagues and complete dominance, not normal. And the stuff’s not normal, either. The mentality behind the stuff is definitely off the charts."
Exactly what the plan ends up being for Crochet remains to be seen, and we likely won't find out what it is until the spring.
But in a small sample size, he proved himself a valuable weapon for a team with World Series aspirations in 2021.
"We view him as an impactful starter," Hahn said in October, "but we certainly can’t ignore what he looked like when he was coming out of the bullpen, either."