KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee junior pitcher Garrett Crochet became the 17th player in program history to be drafted in the first round when he was selected with the 11th overall pick by the Chicago White Sox in the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday night.
Crochet is just the fifth UT pitcher to be selected in the first round (including compensatory picks and competitive balance rounds), joining James Atkins (2007), Luke Hochevar (2006), Wyatt Allen (2001) and R.A. Dickey (1996), and is the highest drafted Vol since Nick Senzel went No. 2 overall to the Cincinnati Reds in the 2016 draft. He is also the second-highest drafted pitcher in program history behind Hochevar, who went No. 1 overall in 2006.
Tennessee has now had at least one player selected in every MLB Draft for the past 37 years, dating back to 1984. Crochet is the eighth player from UT to be drafted by the White Sox and the first since Stephen McCray in the 16th round of the 2010 draft.
Crochet was tabbed a preseason All-American by Baseball America and Perfect Game prior to the 2020 season. Despite being limited to just one appearance during his junior campaign due to arm soreness and the season being cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the big lefty jumped up draft boards with impressive showings with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team last summer and a dominant fall in which he displayed an elite fastball that was consistently in the mid-90s and was clocked as high as 100 mph. He also showed improved command of his secondary pitches, specifically his slider and changeup.
As a sophomore in 2019, Crochet displayed his versatility, pitching in a variety of different roles and situations. The Ocean Springs, Mississippi, native made 18 appearances and six starts, starting the year in the bullpen before eventually moving into a weekend starting role during conference play. He finished third on the team with five victories and second on the squad with three saves. Crochet also ranked second on the team with 81 strikeouts in 65.0 innings pitched.
One of the most impressive moments of Crochet’s career came during the 2019 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional. Just a few weeks after suffering a broken jaw that required surgery and metal plates to be inserted, Crochet returned to make two appearances and pitch six total innings during the regional.
In his first appearance after breaking his jaw in the final regular-season series of the year, Crochet tossed 2.1 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win over UNC Wilmington, which was Tennessee’s first NCAA tournament victory since 2005. He also pitched 3.2 innings in UT’s victory over Liberty to help the Vols advance to the regional championship.
Crochet showed flashes of his potential during an up and down freshman season in which he made 16 appearances and started 11 games. He finished the year tied for second on the team with five victories and was also second on the team with 62 strikeouts, which ranks fifth in program history for strikeouts by a freshman in a single season.
Be sure to tune in for rounds 2-5, which are set to air Thursday on ESPN2 starting at 5 p.m. ET.