The Diamondbacks have a lot of solid arms in their system, most of which are right-handed. The top lefty in their system is Blake Walston, a first round pick from last year’s draft. After Walston, the organization doesn’t offer much in terms of lefties. That could change in the 2020 Draft, with one of the top college arms potentially becoming available to them with the 18th overall pick.
Name: Garrett Crochet
Size: 6’6” 218
Rankings: Baseball America - 13th, MLB Pipeline - 18th
Expected Draft Range: Top 20
Projected Tools: Fastball 65, Slider 60, Change-Up 55, Command 45
Crochet was one of the ten players I listed as potential options with the 18th pick and of the college crop he seems to be the most likely to get there along with Cavalli. Crochet showed 96-100 in the fall but battled shoulder soreness in Spring before getting a 3-inning outing in before the season was shut down. In that one outing, Crochet showed 93-96 with the fastball with quality spin rates. His best secondary is the slider, with above-average spin and late bite to it. He has the feel for an above-average change-up, which comes in at a harder 90 MPH with late tumble action.
Not only is Crochet 6’6”, but also has long limbs which allows for more extension and create some uncomfortable angles for hitters to pick up on. There is a bit of a hitch in his delivery at the leg lift that makes it a little difficult to repeat, but gets himself to a good position to throw the pitch thanks to his athleticism. There will need to be a few tweaks necessary to help him land more pitches in the zone, particularly to the edges of the zone, but not much will be needed since we’re talking about blow you away stuff.
Why the D-backs should draft him?
You can’t teach stuff, but you can teach better command of said stuff and make mechanical tweaks to make things easier. Crochet is very reminiscent of former first rounder Chris Sale, although Crochet has a sturdier build than Sale, who weighs 200 on a good day. I don’t quite compare the FB/SL combination to Randy Johnson, who was 4” taller and a history of throwing the ball over people’s heads early in his career.
Crochet has the potential to be one of the game’s best left-handed pitchers with two swing-and-miss deliveries. He may need some help to get going in the pro system, but if he lands in Arizona then he can call up RJ or his potential future teammate Madison Bumgarner to help mentor him early in his career. RJ and Mad Bum both know a thing or two about pitching with long arms and figuring out how to best command their pitches.
Why the D-backs should not draft him?
Crochet has somewhat significant reliever risk due to a lack of a consistent starter track record, although as a reliever I would project him in a Josh Hader type role. With a system full of middle and bottom of the rotation arms, I think the team could afford to take on that risk with a pair of lefties who can help him out. Another reason they might not take him is simply they end up drafting a pitcher who is a safer projection for the rotation like Cade Cavalli.
There is a small risk in getting Crochet to sign, although I’ll be surprised if he turns down the D-backs at slot value. If necessary, the team could afford to get some savings later on in the draft if Crochet’s asking price is a little more than the slot number for 18 ($3.48MM). There is some leverage for Crochet to return to Tennessee and catapult himself into potential Top 10 mix next year although I think Arizona is one of the few places that has the resources necessary to develop him into a top of the rotation arm.
ETA: June 2023
How quickly Crochet will be able to adjust to more selective hitters in the pro game will determine the speed he goes up the system. He won’t be challenged until reaching the AA level, as he can just out-stuff hitters up through High A. How he commands the fastball to both slides of the plate and the slider to the low-glove side of the plate will ultimately determine his upside as a pitcher. I believe he has the potential to put up Chris Sale type numbers in the big leagues.