Crochet, 24 next month, will be pitching in the majors for the first time in about a year and a half once he makes his first appearance of the season. He required Tommy John surgery in early April of 2022, which wiped out that entire season for him and the early parts of 2023 as well.
Prior to that lost year, Crochet had quickly established himself as a viable major league arm. The Sox selected him 11th overall in the 2020 draft and added him to their 60-man player pool shortly thereafter, with the minor leagues having been canceled by the pandemic that year. He made his major league debut later in that campaign with five scoreless appearances in the regular season and another in the postseason. In 2021, he stuck in the big leagues and tossed 54 1/3 innings with a 2.82 ERA, 28.3% strikeout rate, 11.7% walk rate and 40.2% ground ball rate.
In the 2021-2022 offseason, the Sox seemed to give some consideration to stretching the lefty out as a starter, though those plans ended up getting pushed off the table by his surgery. It was reported in November that the club would keep him in a relief role in the 2023 season after the long layoff, with his health and performance this season perhaps dictating what role he will have in the future.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see if the Sox ever have any interest in reconsidering a move to the rotation. Both Lucas Giolito and Mike Clevinger are slated for free agency this winter, while the club has an $18MM club option on Lance Lynn with a $1MM buyout. With Lynn currently sporting a 7.51 ERA on the year, he’ll need a strong finish for the club to consider picking that up, meaning it’s possible three holes open up in that rotation next year. With only Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech currently lined up for jobs in 2024, there would have to be at least some temptation to give Crochet a shot at making the switch if they felt he were capable of it from a health and workload perspective.
For now, the Sox could use the extra southpaw in the bullpen after Jake Diekman posted a 7.94 ERA in 13 outings and was designated for assignment. Aaron Bummer is still with the big league club but has a 9.45 ERA so far this year. Sammy Peralta was with the Sox earlier this year but struggled in his one outing before getting optioned. Tanner Banks had a more palatable 3.38 ERA in his eight innings this year but struck out just 16.1% of opponents and also has been optioned to the minors.