Garrett Hook: His Past, Present and Future With the Chicago White Sox

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“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is divided into a series of five parts:

  1. Depth in Recruit Tiers (Dominican to Great Falls)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in upper levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. under the radar-type detail on a White Sox player
  5. Free agent options

This article takes a look at Garrett Hook’s career through 2020, his 2021 season with the White Sox and what his future looks like in the White Sox organization.

How did he get here?

As a junior for his high school team in Ocean Springs, Miss., all Hook did was post a .51 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 27. 23 sleeves. Although he didn’t post such an impressive ERA in his senior year (2017), his team had no complaints as he led his Greyhounds to the Class 6A State Semifinals by producing a 1.48 ERA and 76 of 61 strikeouts 13 sleeves. the Milwaukee Brewers selected Hook in the 34th round, but instead opted to pitch for the University of Tennessee.

Hook struggled as a freshman, as he posted a 5.51 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 17 appearances. In his 63 23 innings that year, he allowed 12 wild pitches and 13 home runs. The following year saw an improvement as he compiled a 4.02 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 18 appearances thanks in part to a higher strikeout rate. His 2020 season saw him throw a productive escape route for the Volunteers, before being sidelined with mild shoulder pain. He was close to a comeback — then the pandemic shutdown ended the college season prematurely.

However, thanks to glimpses of his triple-digit fastball and impressive slider, Hook has been projected by some to be selected in the Top 10 of 2020. MLB Draft. He fell one spot lower, to the 11th pick, where the White Sox selected him not only for his pitching arsenal, but also for his major league readiness.

After pitching just over two months at alternate training site Schaumburg, Hook was called up to the majors on September 18. In doing so, Hook became the first player since Cincinnati. Mike Leak (2010) to debut in the majors after skipping the minors altogether. Not only did Hook turn on the radar with readings consistently over 100 mph, he was a batter’s worst nightmare: In five appearances totaling six innings, Hook returned just three hits (.143 OBA) and no walks while striking eight (36.4%).

With the White Sox in 2021

While Hook had a strong 2021 season, he struggled to live up to the inordinately high expectations Sox fans had for him based on the previous year’s results. For almost all other rookie relievers, however, the year would be considered a success. Hook served as the first left middle reliever, in deference to the more experienced Aaron Bummer. In 54 relief appearances, Hook posted a solid 2.82 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Covering 54 13 innings, he allowed just 42 hits (.213 OBA) and 27 walks (11.7%) while striking out 65 batters (28.3%).

Let’s first look at its divisions. Playing on a guaranteed-rate, hitter-friendly pitch didn’t matter much in Hook’s case, as opponents were hitting .214 against him there versus .212 on the road. Unsurprisingly, Hook’s tricks were easier to see in daytime matches (3.92 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) than under the lights (2.14 ERA, 1.25 WHIP). .236 sturdier compared to Crochet’s offerings. The only difficult month he had was in June, when he posted a 6.10 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in nine relief appearances. Somewhat surprisingly given that Hook pitched less than 10 combined innings between college and majors in 2020, his numbers actually improved after the All-Star break, with the exception of ERA and strikeouts. at bat.

Before Star Break: 27 13 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 22H, 16BB, 35K
Post-All-Star break: 27 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 20 H, 11 BB & 30 K

Let’s dig a little deeper into Crochet’s repertoire. Unsurprisingly, his four-seam fastball dropped from 100.1 mph to a terrific but more modest 96.7. Of the three pitches in his repertoire, opponents have been the most successful against this offer by slashing .288/.357/.405. It was a stark contrast to its low sample numbers the previous year (.167/147/.167), and this pitch was offered 64.3% of the time. His 85.2 mph slider was Hook’s second most frequent pitch (27.9%) and kept batters just 0.141/0.168/0.169. Hook’s third pitch, a change of 91.8 mph, was used exclusively against right-handers. Thrown just 7.9% of the time, right-handers were completely neutralized, as evidenced by an incredibly microscopic line of .000/.041/.000 – not too bad!

Despite his reduced speed and spending time on the disabled list due to lower back strain, Hook posted a respectable 1.3 bWAR, which actually tops Bummer’s. Considering each bWAR is worth around $7.7 million in the free agent market per FanGraphs, compared to his 2021 minimum wage, Hook has produced a net worth of over $9.4 million. Hook will not be eligible for arbitration until the end of the 2024 season and will be under team control until the end of 2027 (unless the new collective agreement changes).

What does the future hold for us?

At the time the White Sox drafted Hook, the team publicly stated that his long-term future was as a starting pitcher. General Manager Rick Hahn continues to double down on that rating, and there are three ways to achieve this. The most he’s ever thrown in a season, dating back to high school, is 65 innings in 2019. So the first and least feasible option is to push Hook into the MLB rotation, cold turkey, while watching up close his throw counts – that would likely put tremendous strain on the bullpen and could cause wear and tear on a tiring arm. A second option would be to start Hook in the minors, where he would throw in less stressful situations while larger bullpens could handle the load when he retired for the night. The third option would be to push Hook into more multi-inning relief situations while he was in the majors, which would keep him on the major league roster where he really belongs. That’s the likeliest avenue the team will take, hopefully extending it to 100 innings, provided he can stay healthy for the year.

The biggest concerns with Crochet in 2021 were about its decreasing speed across its four seams. A decrease of four mph is significant, so why did this happen? He went on the injured reserve list earlier this year with a lower back injury. With a little less torque, the fastball just wasn’t as fast as fans were used to. Coaches may have asked Hook to downsize to better safeguard his future health, as he’s obviously not helping the team if he later has Tommy John surgery. Or maybe that’s his new normal, although given his extremely young age of 22, the loss of speed would be surprising to say the least. Fans will get clearer answers in spring training.

While there may be talk of Hook getting innings in the minors next season, it’s much more likely that he’ll join Bummer again in the bullpen next year. It’s conceivable that the Sox would opt to go with a third southpaw in the bullpen, which would eliminate the temptation to insert Hook into shorter situations that aren’t ideal for his long-term development (provided the team continues to believe he is a future starter). Among the most viable candidates to join Bummer and Hook in the 20221 pen would be hard to cast Anderson Severino and specialist Bennett Sousa, both of whom were recently added to the 40-man roster. Other intriguing internal options remain, such as Andre Perez, Hunter Schryver and Zack Muckenhirn.

It seems unlikely that the Sox will pursue a left-handed reliever in free agency, based on the strength of the majors and minors raised in that area. In case you’re interested, however, the final deep dive of the offseason will include the options available to the White Sox.

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