The night before the 2020 MLB Draft gets under way, the FanSided MLB network did a first round mock draft. Who did the mock Texas Rangers take?
The 2020 MLB Draft is scheduled to get under way later today and in honor of what is sure to be one of the strangest drafts in recent memory, the FanSided MLB division took on a mock draft, trying to map out how the first round will play out. Drafting on behalf of the Texas Rangers, we held the 14th overall pick in the draft and were in search of an impact prospect that can add some upside to what will end up being just a five round draft.
The mock draft got underway in fairly expected fashion with the Detroit Tigers’ site, Motor City Bengals, taking Spencer Torkelson with the first overall pick. Asa Lacy out of local program Texas A&M went second overall to the Orioles and the draft was rolling along.
Who Did We Take?
As we hit the 14th pick in the mock, we had a few options to look at. Recently off the board were Heston Kjerstad, the highly touted outfield from Arkansas, going 12th overall to the Reds. The Giants’ representatives, Around the Foghorn, picked just before us at No. 13 and took Mick Abel, a prep pitcher from Oregon.
One aspect we looked to maintain was drafting in a way consistent to how we think the actual Texas Rangers will draft on Wednesday night. With only five rounds, it would make sense to see Texas push for a collegiate player in Round One instead of high school, trying to get a more polished prospect instead of the riskiness of the prep route. Texas also likely is looking at a pitcher in the first round as they continue to search for top end arm talent that can help give them future front-end rotation pieces. With that in mind, we had two notable choices at 14 with Cade Cavalli, a righty out of Oklahoma, and Garrett Crochet, a lefty from Tennessee both available to us.
The Pick Is In: LHP Garrett Crochet, University of Tennessee
In the end we took Crochet, a 20-year old left-handed who pitches for the Volunteers at the University of Tennessee. An Ocean Springs, Mississippi native, Crochet fits the bill of a Rangers’ draft pick.
Crochet has limited work as a starter in college which is not the most comforting thing but features legitimate rotation upside. Limited to just 12 starts in his first two seasons at Tennessee with 35 total appearances, Crochet put up a 5.51 ERA in 2018 and a 4.02 ERA in 2019 throwing over 60 innings in each campaign.
His 2020 campaign was shortened by the season cancellation due to COVID-19 but Crochet was slotted to be a starter for Tennessee. He made his first, and only, start of the season against Wright State in early-March and went 3.1 innings scoreless, allowing a pair of hits and striking out six. Early in the year, Crochet had dealt with some shoulder soreness which led to the abbreviated start.
Why We Took Crochet
There is some injury concern around Crochet which is why he was available at fourteen despite multiple outlets considering him a potential top-10 talent. While concerning, the Texas Rangers have shown a consistent desire to add high upside talent on the pitching side and are willing to take on some risk to do so.
If Crochet pans out like hoped, Texas adds a rare arm to their prospect arsenal. The lefty features a mid-90’s fastball with the ability to get up into the high-90’s when needed. He also has a proven ability to miss bats with his multi-pitch mix. In his 2019 season, Crochet struck out 81 batters in 65 innings.
His fastball is his best pitch and he pairs it with a nice slider while featuring the ability to throw the change and mix in a curve here and there. To be a long-term rotation option, like most young pitchers, he’ll have to develop a true third pitch that can get him multiple times through the order. The bright side on Crochet is if the health concerns are minimal in the future, he has the two-pitch combo to be a very effective relief pitcher even if his pitch mix does not develop to frontline starter level.
The real 2020 MLB Draft is slated to take place Wednesday, June 10th and Thursday June 11th. With only five rounds as opposed to the usual 40 round draft, there are likely to be changes to how Texas picks. Follow along with the draft on MLB Network or ESPN beginning at 6 PM Wednesday.