MLB Draft Feature: Garrett Crochet, P, Tennessee

Left-handed pitchers are always a commodity in the MLB, and Garrett Crochet will be one of the best available come the 2020 Draft, as the Tennessee junior is ranked as the 18th best prospect on MLB.com’s Top 200, and he slots in as the third best available southpaw.

Crochet was a 34th-round draft pick out of high school, but he elected to honor his commitment to the Volunteers, and that decision has paid off, with his draft stock skyrocketing over two full seasons of pitching in the very competitive SEC. Crochet has been utilized as both a starter and a reliever, coming up clutch in both situations. His freshman year, Crochet displayed ice in his veins, stranding the bases loaded against #13 Kentucky to earn his first career save.

Despite only six starts in his sophomore year, Crochet still made 18 appearances and was third on the team with five victories. He was second with 81 strikeouts. In his first appearance of the year, he faced nine batters from Appalachian State, and he struck out all nine of them in a dazzling performance that had Crochet on every scout’s radar from the start of the season. In his return from injury in the NCAA Tournament, Crochet fired 2 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts to help the Vols to their first tournament win in nearly fifteen seasons.

Projection

Crochet is a power-first lefty, with his fastball touching 99 mph, but his slider, curve, and change-up combination complement his heater well. If all four pitches develop, Crochet projects as a above-average middle of the rotation starter. Even with his fastball and his slider, his top off-speed offering, and deceptive delivery, Crochet can be an elite and valuable asset out of the bullpen, so he will be a solid pick in the mid-to-late portion of the first half.

Prediction: Round 1, Pick 14, Texas Rangers

There’s a little injury risk when it comes to Crochet, but his upside is too teasing to pass up here. Touching 99 with his fastball, featuring a wipe-out slider with the potential for another consistent swing-and-miss pitch in his changeup, Crochet has the pieces to be a huge asset in Arlington, and if he continues to rebound well from his injury, he will be a great pick-up at 14th overall for the Rangers.

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