KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee pitcher Garrett Crochet was the first Vol to hear his name called during the 2020 MLB draft, but he isn’t likely to be the last.
The junior left-hander is heading to the South Side of Chicago to play for the White Sox after being selected No. 11 overall. Crochet became the 17th player from Tennessee to be drafted in the first round and highest-drafted Vol since Nick Senzel went No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft to the Cincinnati Reds.
The Major League Baseball draft continues Thursday. Rounds 2-5 begin at 5 p.m. and are broadcast on ESPN2. There will only be five rounds this year compared to the typical 40 due to the financial impact of COVID-19.
Before the abrupt ending to the season in March after just 17 games, Crochet had just one appearance against Wright State. He went 3 1/3 innings striking out six batters and allowing just two hits and no walks on 42 pitches.
Crochet made six starts in 2019 and finished second on the team in strikeouts, 81, and third on the team in wins in 18 total appearances.
In his first appearance after breaking his jaw in the final regular-season series of the year, Crochet tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief against UNC Wilmington in the NCAA tournament Chapel Hill regional. The win was Tennessee’s first in the tournament since 2005. He also spent last summer as part of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
Outfielder Alerick Soularie is among the Vols waiting to hear his name. Soularie hit 5 home runs in 60 at-bats and grabbed 17 RBIs before COVID-19 ended the season.
Other Tennessee baseball Vols looking to hear their name called are Zach Daniels and Jackson Leath.
Daniels was named 2020 Round Rock Classic MVP for his performance at the early season tournament in Texas. The Vols went 3-0 defeating No. 1 Texas Tech and No. 25 Stanford in the tournament. Daniels was a big part of the team’s success going 4 for 12 on the weekend including an inside-the-park home run against the Red Raiders.
Daniels had just 12 hits, 11 runs, four homers and 10 RBIs in 2019 but had 20 hits, 20 runs, eight home runs and 18 RBIs in just 56 at-bats in 2020.
Leath, a junior college transfer, got four starts on the mound for the Vols this past season. He won all four which was tied for the tops in the nation at the time. The right-hander led the team in strikeouts with 20 and was holding batters to a .167 batting average.
Rounds two through five of the MLB draft consists of 123 total picks. Teams can sign an unlimited number of undrafted free agents for a maximum of $20,000.
Tennessee has 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.
Vanderbilt recruit Robert Hassell III became the first position player from a Tennessee prep school to be drafted in the first round since 1986.
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