Sox's first-round draft pick easing in at Boomers Stadium
If there was a minor-league season this year, first-round draft pick Garrett Crochet would probably be at high Class A Winston-Salem right now.
"Then, I'm sure Double-A (Birmingham) wouldn't have been out of the question," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz.
The No. 11 overall pick in last month's draft, Crochet is making the most of his first professional season. With no minor-league baseball this year due to COVID-19, Crochet is training with the Sox's taxi squad at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.
"It's incredible, man," said Crochet, who pitched 3⅓ collegiate innings for Tennessee this season before play was halted. "Being around experienced guys, a bunch of guys with big-league experience, they are very welcoming to me. Definitely kind of coaxed me out of my shell, per se. I was a little bit nervous when I first got there, my first experience in pro ball."
The Schaumburg camp's first objective is getting players ready to help the White Sox this season. Development is No. 2.
If the Sox want to use his promising left-handed arm at any point this year, Crochet is all for it.
"Yeah, 100 percent," the 21-year-old pitcher said. "If it wasn't in the back of my mind, I probably wouldn't consider myself a competitor. That's definitely something that I'm thinking about at all times. But at the same time, I'm trying to juggle the new developments that I'm undergoing, like my new four-seam (fastball) grip."
Expected to take over as the Sox's starting second baseman sometime soon, Nick Madrigal is staying game ready in Schaumburg.
"He's pretty close," Chris Getz said. "It's purely putting him in a position to succeed when he gets there. His starter kit is pretty good as is, but we want to make sure we're getting the most out of him right out of the gate."
Getz said the key for Madrigal, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is getting more comfortable in the batter's box and "focusing on pitches he can hit."
According to director of player development Chris Getz, most of the players training in Schaumburg are staying at a local extended stay hotel for safety reasons.
In addition to helping upgrade Boomers Stadium, the White Sox are also paying Schaumburg an undisclosed rent.
The Sox have seven minor-league coaches, including Arlington Heights native Matt Zaleski (Class AAA Charlotte pitching coach), and a group of trainers and strength coaches working in Schaumburg.