Comparing first-round picks to players who came before them is a popular exercise on draft day.
“It’s tough to make on me (because) I haven’t achieved anything close to what Chris has achieved,” Crochet said. “But it’s nice to see.”
Like Sale, Crochet is a tall (6-foot-6, 218-pound) lefty with a big arm. And as he showed after joining the White Sox in September, Crochet has a chance to be as dominating as Sale.
“I think I’m speaking for everybody,” White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada said. “Every time I see him coming into the game my thought is, ‘OK, it’s going to be a 1-2-3 inning.’ “
Limited to just 3.1 innings with the Volunteers before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the college season, Crochet reported to the White Sox’s alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill., in late July and wowed the organization.
On Sept. 18, Crochet became the first 2020 draftee to reach the majors, whereupon he looked like a young Sale while pitching six scoreless innings of relief. He had eight strikeouts and no walks.
In his final appearance, Crochet left Game 3 of the Wild Card Series against the Athletics with forearm tightness after striking out both hitters he faced on nine pitches.
After having his left arm checked out, Chicago is confident Crochet will be ready to go in spring training.
“His (ulnar collateral ligament) is clean,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “No issues there. He is dealing with a flexor strain, essentially a muscle strain in the forearm.”
While Crochet’s 100 mph fastball, slider and changeup have him projected as a starter down the road, the White Sox are likely to follow the same path as Sale and keep Crochet in the bullpen for the near future.
— Trading Dane Dunning to the Rangers to get Lance Lynn was a high price to pay, but the White Sox still have solid young rotation depth headed by Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Garrett Crochet, Jonathan Stiever, Jimmy Lambert and Jared Kelley.
— Chicago claimed Emilio Vargas on waivers from the Diamondbacks. In 2019, the 24-year-old righthander was 5-3, 3.78 in 17 starts with Double-A Jackson.