White Sox fans soon might see less of ace Garrett Crochet

It might be prudent for the Sox to start monitoring Crochet’s innings, even with the dominance he has shown.

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Garrett Crochet

Garrett Crochet #45 of the Chicago White Sox prepares to pitch during the sixth inning Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 13, 2024 in Seattle, Washington.

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

PHOENIX — With four weeks left until the All-Star break, White Sox fans might be seeing less of prized left-hander Garrett Crochet, more of the team’s unheralded pitchers and a few snippets of their prospects.

There might not be a better time for the Sox to start, considering they have three days off before the break after watching the workload pile up for Crochet and recently demoted reliever Jordan Leasure.

It might mean a pitcher such as journeyman Chad Kuhl could eat up more innings as a starter and reliever in an effort to protect the Sox’ future building blocks.

‘‘[Kuhl] gives us another guy with length, [which is] important for us as we start to navigate some of the controlled innings and pitchers . . . at some point during the season,’’ manager Pedro Grifol said Friday.

Before the Sox’ game Saturday against the Diamondbacks, Grifol ventured further into that line of thinking when he declined to rule out going to a six-man rotation.

Crochet already has pitched a career-high 82 2/3 innings, but his dominance has been the biggest bright spot in an otherwise-miserable 2024 season.

His 116 strikeouts led the majors entering play Saturday, and he’s one of four American League pitchers who have made 15 starts.

Given his dominance, age (24) and the fact he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2026 season, Crochet could bring in the largest and most lucrative package of prospects in any trade.

But any team thinking about acquiring him would be wise to factor in his medical history, including Tommy John surgery that kept him out for all of 2022 and much of 2023. That would affect an interested team with a sense of urgency to win this season.

In any case, it would be wise for the Sox to start monitoring Crochet’s workload, perhaps starting him once a week until the break and starting him at the back end of the rotation when play resumes in the second half.

Leasure was optioned Friday to Triple-A Charlotte to improve the command of his fastball and to work on keeping potential base-stealers at bay. Before his demotion, Leasure was on pace to surpass his career high of 49 appearances, which he set in the Dodgers’ organization in 2022.

Now that Leasure is in the minors, he’ll perform on a schedule in which teams have Mondays off. And the Sox will have the option of putting him on the developmental list to give him a break.

Two prospects who might see more work at the major-league level in the second half are right-handers Drew Thorpe and Jonathan Cannon.

Thorpe could remain in the Sox’ rotation as long as he pitches as well as he did Tuesday, when he limited the Mariners to one earned run in five innings in his major-league debut. He’s at 65 innings this season after pitching 139⅓ innings in the Yankees’ system.

‘‘I threw [104 2/3] innings my junior year [at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 2022], and it’s been a little step after that,’’ Thorpe said Saturday. ‘‘Hopefully I can build up more from here on out.’’

Cannon pitched 121 minor-league innings in 2023 and has thrown 61⅓ between Charlotte and the Sox this season. He is expected to finish with perhaps a slight bump in his innings from last season.

Diamondbacks right-hander Ryne Nelson, who limited the Sox to one run and threw 71 of 95 pitches for strikes Friday, said his organization put him and other homegrown pitchers on a progression schedule from the time they were drafted.

Nelson, a second-round pick in the 2019 draft, said he and his fellow starters were on a seven-day schedule until they reached Triple-A, where they would throw every fifth or sixth day.

‘‘It was kind of like a slow build,’’ Nelson said. ‘‘I think that really helps to kind of get accustomed to it. And then up here it was just a lot about figuring out the routine and how to be ready and prepared.’’

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