The Texas Rangers currently have five picks, and while it is possible they could trade for a competitive balance pick from another team, it appears most likely they will have just their regular selections in each round. Their first pick is at #14 overall, and then they pick at #50, #87, #117, and #147.
In the run up to the draft, we will be highlight some players who are potential Ranger draft picks. Last year no one aside from Josh Jung that we wrote about was actually picked by the Rangers, as we mostly looked at prep players for their later picks, and they went college-heavy early in the draft for the first time in years. This year, the uncertainty over whether they will emphasize college players again or go back to prep players would make it hard to narrow down the list of potential prospects even in a normal year — the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic having shut down amateur play creates even more uncertainty about potential picks.
On the plus side, the lack of games and actual new scouting going on means that there’s going to be a lot less updated information, so a write-up I do now will likely still be more or less valid a month from now.
In any case, in the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks. Today we take a look at University of Tennessee lefthanded pitcher Garrett Crochet.
Garrett Crochet is a 6’6”, 218 lb. lefthanded pitcher who is a junior at the University of Tennessee, which he attended after not signing as a 34th round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. Crochet didn’t feature in the BA top 500 draft prospect list for 2017.
A somewhat young college junior — he doesn’t turn 21 until June 21, 2020, just after the draft — Crochet has an exciting two pitch mix, throwing in the upper 90s with his fastball and featuring a quality slider, giving him the type of one-two combination that allows him to potentially be a weapon in the late innings, as well as providing a couple of foundational pieces for a starting role.
Crochet has big time upside as a potential starting pitcher, and the stuff is such that he’d be off the board well before the Rangers pick at #14 if there was confidence in his ability to start. However, Crochet has only made 13 starts in college — 6 as a freshman, 6 as a sophomore, and one in his only appearance this year before the season was canceled. Because he doesn’t have a track record as a starter, there is more uncertainty and reliever risk surrounding him than usual.
Had we had a “real” college season, and had Crochet performed well in a starting role (after being primarily a reliever his first two seasons for the Volunteers, he was slated to be in the rotation this year), he could have been a potential top 5-10 pick. As it is, a team picking him in the middle of the first round could end up with a terrific starting pitching prospect who is a steal relative to where he is picked, or someone who is destined for a bullpen role, at best.
Baseball America has Crochet at #13 on their pre-draft top 500 currently. MLB Pipeline has Crochet at #18, and notes his high spin rates on his fastball and slider. Fangraphs has Crochet at #19 on their board, and compares his FB/slider combo to Andrew Miller. At ESPN, Kiley McDaniel slots Crochet at #14, while Keith Law has him at 22.
McDaniel mocked Crochet to the Rangers at #14 in his mock draft yesterday, which is what prompted me to write Crochet up today. Jonathan Mayo has Crochet at #17 in his mock, and notes he could go much higher than to the Boston Red Sox there. Baseball America’s latest mock has him at #11 to the Chicago White Sox.
Landing Crochet would give the Rangers another quality lefthanded arm to join Joe Palumbo, Taylor Hearn, Kolby Allard and the injured Brock Burke, with Crochet probably having the most upside of any of them.