Is it Legit? 4/2/24: Nick Pivetta, Garrett Crochet, Kutter Crawford

Are Nick Pivetta, Garrett Crochet, and Kutter Crawford for real?

We aren’t even a week into the season so it is difficult for any analysis not to be an overreaction, but it also means if you can recognize real improvement this early you can gain a major edge over your competitors. Here are three players off to hot starts.


Nick Pivetta


Nick Pivetta spent 2023 moving between starting, relieving, and back to starting. Overall, he had a decent season, finishing with a 4.04 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 31.2% K%, and 8.5% BB%. His season took off when he started throwing a sweeper and a cutter around June. As we can see, his K%, O-Swing%, and even GB% all rose while his BB% declined coinciding with the pitch usage changes.

His 84.2 mph sweeper is one of the harder-thrown ones in the game and generated a 26.2% Swinging Strike%, which was 92nd percentile. It also had a 49.5% O-Swing% (85th percentile) and 41.2% ICR. Unsurprisingly, he used it nearly entirely vs. RHBs. It seems to have largely replaced the slider vs. RHBs. The quality of contact on the two pitches was roughly the same, but the slider only generated a 16.0% Swinging Strike%. This accounts for the increase in K%.

He threw the cutter 9% of the time vs. RHBs and 6% vs LHB. His fastball dropped in usage correspondingly. The cutter seems to be only modestly more effective than the four-seamer. The cutter did have a 21.1% Swinging Strike% as opposed to a 12.5% Swinging Strike% for the four-seamer. However, I’d say the cutter is just another tool he can utilize, rather than a game changer like the sweeper could be.

His one start in 2024 was very good. He had 10 Ks and 0 BBs over 6.0 IP. He threw sweepers 33%, four-seamers, 29%, curveballs 19%, and cutters 19%.

Verdict: Legit. The biggest concern I’d have is batters laying off the sweeper more. In 2023 it had a 26.6% Zone% and 49.5% O-Swing%. If hitters start taking it more, I’d expect his K% to decrease and BB% to increase somewhat. However, the increased usage of the sweeper, and to a lesser extent, the cutter, should help him maintain a high K%-BB% and be an above-average SP in 2024.


Garrett Crochet


Since making his debut in 2020 Garrett Crochet has never made a MLB start. He started some during his college career. In 2023 he only had 12 IP and missed all of 2022 with Tommy John surgery. This makes it difficult to zero in on who he is.

He made his 1st career start on Opening Day this year and pitched well for the White Sox. Across 6 IP he struck out 8 had no walks and only allowed 5 H and 1 ER.

Throughout his career, the big lefty has primarily been a fastball-slider guy. That held true in his first start, with a light mix of cutters and changeups. Generally, two-pitch SP are only successful if they are both great pitches, so we’ll focus on them.

The fastball averaged 97.6 mph, but with poor Height Adjusted Vertical Attack Angle and Induced Vertical Break; .8 and 14.0 respectively. It had a 98 Stuff+ in the start and a 104 Stuff+ in 2023. It did have an 80% GB% and 20% Ideal Contact Rate, but little stock can be put in those numbers after 6 IP. I’m not convinced it is a great fastball.

The slider on the other hand could be dominant. PLV grades is as 93rd percentile and Stuff+ gave it a 147. It gets great horizontal movement. It also has very low ICRs, but surprisingly, is only an average Swinging Strike pitch.

He hasn’t thrown the changeup much, and it doesn’t look like it can be much of a factor for him. This is the first year he’s thrown a cutter. Stuff+ gave it a 114, but it’s too early to say much about it.

Verdict: Not Legit. You can’t blame the White Sox for giving Crochet a shot in the rotation, given their low expectations this year. However, the slider alone cannot sustain him in that role. There is certainly time for him to develop as a SP, but with his current stuff, he is best off as a reliever.


Kutter Crawford


Another Red Sox. In 129 IP Kutter Crawford had a good 2023 season, with a 4.04 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 18.8% K-BB%. Many expect him to improve even more this year. He had a solid first start, going 6 IP, with 7 Ks, 1 BB, 3 H, and O ER.

He introduced a sweeper in early June of 2023, but only threw it about 10% after that.

He relies on a kitchen sink approach, mixing in a lot of kutters, and four-seamers, with some sweepers, curves, splitters, and sliders. None of them stand out by PLV or Stuff+, but they are all respectable.

In his first start, he threw 36% sweepers and he was willing to throw them against both RHBs and LHBs. Generally, sweepers lead to higher K% and BB%, so we’ll see if Crawford continues to throw them a lot this year.

Verdict: Indifferent. I don’t see Crawford taking a big leap in 2024, but it seems like he will have a high floor. His ability to command a lot of different pitches ensures that. Perhaps the sweeper will take him a bit higher than that.


Featured image by Doug Carlin (@bdougals on Twitter)

Andrew Krutz

Andrew writes for Pitcher List and is a lifelong New York Yankees fan. During the warmer months he can be found playing vintage baseball in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York.

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