MESA, Ariz. – Left-handed Garrett Crochet caught everyone’s attention last season when he hit 101 and 102 mph.
A few months away from college, the White Sox’s number 11 overall also mingled in a plus slider and was almost unbeatable. In five missions he did not allow a run.
But Crochet hasn’t hit 100 in Cactus League games yet.
“I wouldn’t look too far,” pitching coach Ethan Katz told the Sun-Times. “These games [last season] are high intensity, but it pops 98 and 99, and easily in a real game, [with] everything flows with its mechanics, you can see 100, 101 again.
“I don’t look at this too closely because they are working on things – a bunch of guys in the spring, mentally and physically – and the spring results don’t mean what you will usually see time of year.”
Crochet gained 15 pounds of muscle in the off season, so that’s different. He also changed his delivery a little.
“It was a little more crossfire. . . So he’s working hard on the side to find a better direction towards Homeplate, ”said Katz. “It’s also his first time in spring training. He had a different offseason than normal and gained weight well. “
Crochet left Game 3 of the Sox 2020 Wildcard Series vs Athletics with a tense forearm, so the recovery from that set the stage for another off-season.
“When you have a little downtime there is a tendency for pitchers to creep in that you are not trying to make happen and you have to readjust,” Katz said. “He’s adapting well and it’s starting to piece together for him.”
Sitting at 96 mph and touching 97, Crochet made his seventh appearance of the spring against the Cubs on Tuesday. He tied left-handed Joc Pederson with a four-seam fastball for a strikeout after taking Javy Baez to the shortstop with a ground ball to open the inning. Jason Heyward shot a slider down and into the gap in right midfield for a double, and Nico Hoerner reeled a fastball in the middle for the Cubs’ first run.
Crochet has allowed a run in seven innings this spring. He hit two batter in a scoreless inning against the Diamondbacks on Sunday and has a total of seven strikeouts.
“Every time I go out, I feel a lot more comfortable,” he said after a recent outing. “When the season really starts and we compete against other teams, then of course I can no longer hold back. Not even that I’m holding back at the moment – I’m just trying to perform well and earn a place on the team. “
Seeing Crochet last season was an appointment on TV. He threw 100 mph past Brian Goodwin the Reds for his first strikeout and threw 45 pitches at 100 mph or more during his five appearances. In six goalless innings, he allowed three hits, dropped eight and allowed no walks.
The three-digit numbers are likely to come. Not yet arrived, “also has to do with the fact that he has recovered from an off-season that was different than last year,” said Katz.
“He’s still in the swing of things he was let into,” said Katz, “and we want to make sure he’s got enough rest and that we don’t stress him too much in spring training. He works his way through a few things, but looks better and better every time. “