SF Giants could throw us a curveball with Garrett Crochet in MLB Draft

SF Giants could take college pitcher Garrett Crochet at No. 13 in MLB draft.

While it has been rumored that the San Francisco Giants have targeted high school prospects as potential first-round picks in the MLB Draft, they could pivot toward a college arm as well.

Similar to the profiles done on Tyler Soderstrom and Mick Abel, Garrett Crochet has been a popular Giants target among the mock draft circuit.

For example, Carlos Collazo of Baseball America recently tabbed the left-handed hurler as falling right into San Francisco’s lap with the 13th overall pick.

Similarly, Keith Law of The Athletic has heard that Crochet is one of the two names most frequently connected to the Giants. The other name being Soderstrom.

Of course, the MLB draft is anything but predictable, and the Giants will throw us a curveball by drafting someone no one has guessed.

Speaking of curveballs, Crochet’s features a four-pitch mix that includes a power fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball. The curveball is rarely used, but I needed to mention it to transition from one topic about the draft to another.

Crochet is in an odd position in that he has spent three seasons on the University of Tennessee pitching staff, but he does not have much of a track record of success.

Any team that drafts him will do so based more on projectability than his recent track record. After all, projectability is how teams tend to draft and develop their prospects.

Still, you would like a first-round pick to have a history of success at the amateur ranks to justify the high draft stock.

That will not necessarily be Crochet, but that does not mean he does not have a promising overall profile.

In three collegiate years, Crochet has bounced around between the rotation and the bullpen before seemingly transitioning permanently to the rotation in 2020. So, even for a college arm, Crochet has relatively little mileage.

In his first two years at the University of Tennessee, the southpaw generated a 4.76 ERA while striking out 143 opposing hitters across 128.2 frames. This included only 12 starts.

Crochet only made one start before the 2020 season was suspended, but he at least made a good first impression as he completed 3.1 scoreless innings while accumulating six punchouts.

Unlike Reid Detmers out of Louisville University who is one of the more proven pitchers in this year’s class, the same cannot be said of Crochet.

In addition to this, Crochet might scare off some teams due to the fact that he has battled shoulder soreness throughout his career.

It is not difficult to see why. Crochet throws from a 3/4 arm slot, which may be putting added pressure on shoulder:

With that being said, the video above does show what makes the University of Tennessee product so promising. Crochet’s delivery hides his pitches well, and delivers the ball at a unique release point that looks like it should be difficult for left-handed hitters to barrel up. In some ways, his delivery reminds me of Madison Bumgarner.

The southpaw boasts a fastball that consistently sits in the high 90s with movement. The fastball even plays up with how well he hides the ball and the release point his uses. The ball explodes out of his hand.

Crochet pairs his fastball with a devastating slider that swipes across the plate with good spin, and drops to the back foot of right-handed hitters. Of his secondary offerings, the slider is the only one that grades as a plus pitch, and one that he uses as his go-to out pitch.

The curveball and changeup are far behind the slider in terms of quality, effectiveness, and usage. Ian Smith of the Prospects 365 believes the left-handed hurler has a very nice ceiling:

“Garrett Crochet creates easy velocity with his fastball by utilizing great extension from his 6-foot-6 frame. Paired with a plus slider and a developing changeup, the Tennessee product has some of the best raw stuff in this class. What holds Crochet back from being one of the first arms off the board is 1) the inconsistency in control and command at times, and 2) an early-season shoulder ailment that limited the southpaw to one start this season. Switching between multiple roles during his time in college never gave him the ability to find comfort in a role, but given his frame and the flat out filth he possesses, becoming a starter in the pros is quite likely”

In today’s game, starting pitchers are expected to throw in the mid-90’s with ease. Crochet has no problem holding his velocity, which is especially impressive coming from the left side.

Command, the inability to develop his changeup, and potential injury concerns will limit Crochet’s upside and he carries some risk as a potential bullpen arm.

There is nothing wrong with becoming a reliever, but it is beneath the value of a first-round pick. Still, any team that drafts him will need to accept this risk while also realizing that he could turn into a mid-rotation arm.