"The bottom line is this kid has got a good, strong arm," Cooper said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Mark Grote on 670 The Score on Thursday afternoon. "And he can throw the shit out of a fastball and crank the heck out of a breaking ball."
Cooper also knows there's much work to be done for Crochet, who made just 36 appearances, including 13 starts, and posted a 4.64 ERA for Tennessee across three seasons in college. That work starts with consistently locating his fastball that can hit 100 miles per hour and also developing his changeup.
"Now the job is going to be, can we throw those two pitches (fastball and breaking ball) where we want?" Cooper said. "That's going to be the problem. When we get hands on this kid, we are going to be working fastball location everywhere. We're going to be slider locations, both sides of the plate, dirt when we want it. And we're going to be working on a changeup and the continued development of a changeup. Because that's going to complete (him). Those three things are his package. Those three pitches are his package now. We're going to try to take them as far as we can take them.
"I'm still a believer that you need three pitches to be a starter in the big leagues. Now with that being said, we drafted this kid to be a starter. We don't draft him in the first round to be a reliever. We're going to do everything in our power to get this guy as good as can be, and everything will turn out the way it's supposed to. But we are thinking starter."
Cooper also pushed back at comparisons of Crochet to former White Sox ace Chris Sale, which came because they're both tall, hard-throwing left-handers with deceiving arm angles. The White Sox developed Sale by first using him out of the bullpen, an idea that they've remained opened to using for Crochet.
"It's different," Cooper said. "It's different because Sale pitched an entire college season and then pitched a couple innings in the minor leagues and came up to try and help us win. This kid hasn't played all year. So that right there is a pretty big difference. Another difference I'm going to point out, you can bring up all the comparable guys to anybody. Let's not put that on him. Chris Sale is Chris Sale, and Crochet is Crochet. Chris Sale, for what it's worth, everybody had the same concerns -- he's not going to be able to be healthy, he's not going to be able to start. And all of that got blown up. None of that ever came to fruition. As a matter of fact, not only was he one of the baddest relievers in the time he was in the bullpen, Sale, he became one of the baddest starters in baseball. He was on -- prior to injury (recently with the Red Sox) -- a Hall of Fame-like career. So let's not put that on anybody. Let this kid just go out and play and let things unfold. The comparable guys, yeah, I get that. I see similarities as well. But that's physical similarities. Listen, I'm not comparing him with Chris Sale, that's for sure.
"All I know is we just got a real good young left-handed pitcher that is going to be contributing at some point to the Chicago White Sox's continued climb to get back to where we want to be. We've gone through a difficult time with the rebuild. It seems to be over. Now we're trending upward, trending in a great direction. So all that, I'm excited for."