Kyle Crockett: From Charlottesville to Cleveland in Three Easy Steps

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Young lefty has given up 9 earned runs in his entire professional career

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The last time the Cleveland Indians won the American League pennant in 1997,

Kyle Crockett

was still months away from turning six years old.  17 years later he would be the seventh-youngest player to throw a pitch in the 2014 Major League Baseball season.

Drafted by the Indians with the fifth pick in the fourth round of the 2013 amateur draft, the former Virginia Cavalier began his professional career that June with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. After tossing a quick 9.1 scoreless innings, he was promoted to Lake County. Five innings for the Captains later, he got promoted once again, this time to AA Akron. He finished the season there by throwing 10.1, you guessed it, scoreless innings.

He started the 2014 season back with the RubberDucks, where he was lit up for one earned run in 15.2 innings before getting the call.

Sep 11, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Kyle Crockett (57) delivers in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Crockett made his major league debut on May 16 against the Oakland Athletics. In doing so, he became the first member of the 2013 draft class to make it to the major leagues. After a brief stint back down in AAA Columbus, he was called back up for good on June 13.

By the end of the season, Crockett had solidified himself as not only one of the most reliable left handed arms out of manager Terry Francona’s bullpen, but one of the most reliable relievers period. In 30 innings with the big club, he was 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA, .234 BAA and a 1.13 WHIP. He also posted an excellent 3.23 FIP, a solid .296 BABIP pitching in front of the worst defense in the league and left a ridiculous 90.6% of runners on base. Will you see some regression from these numbers in 2015? Sure. But regressing from a .200/.275/.270 slash line against lefties is still pretty darn good.

On top of Crockett, the Indians had lefties Nick Hagadone and Marc Rzepczynski coming out of the pen in 2014. Hagadone put up stellar numbers, and actually had a slightly better xFIP against right handers than he did against lefties (2.83 vs RHH, 2.98 vs LHH). He could be a potential trade piece for the Tribe this offseason if they want to try to sell high on a previously mediocre hard-throwing lefty.

So what will 2015 look like for Kyle Crockett? Here’s a hint: tiring. The Indians and Francona set all sorts of records this season for bullpen usage and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. The manager has said that there is a certain way of handling young players who fly through the minor leagues like Crockett has, so you probably won’t see him appearing in 80 games like Bryan Shaw did this year, but he’s certainly going to be getting in his fair share of work in the new glass-walled bullpens of Progressive Field.

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