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On May 24, the Arizona Diamondbacks called up Kevin Cron to the big-league club. At the time the 26-year-old led all minor leaguers with 21 home runs. He was called up to help an offense that needed a boost. On June 6, he hit his first big-league home run. Since then, he was sent down when Arizona needed another pitcher, then returned to provide pinch hitting duties and some occasional time at first base. He is also being utilized as the DH when the team is in an American League city.
Arrival to Arizona
Cron attended high school in Phoenix. He was originally drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2011 draft but decided to attend Texas Christian University instead. A catcher in high school, he was moved to first base at TCU. In 2014, after his junior season, the Diamondbacks selected him in the 14th round of the MLB draft. He signed with them on June 23, 2014.
Playing in the Minor Leagues
Cron made his professional debut with the Missoula Osprey of the Rookie-level Pioneer League, and quickly moved up to the Hillsboro Hops of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League. He finished 2014 with a combined .291 batting average along with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs.
He spent 2015 with the Visalia Rawhide of the Class A-Advanced California League in 2015 where he hit 27 home runs and had 97 RBIs. In 2016 he was with the AA Mobile BayBears. He added 88 RBIs and 26 home runs to his stats.
After the 2016 season, he played in front of the local Arizona fans when he was assigned to the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League. In 2017, Cron played for the AA Jackson Generals. He was named the league’s most valuable player after batting .283 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. Cron spent last year with the AAA Reno Aces, improving his batting average to .309 while hitting 22 home runs and adding 97 RBIs to his lifetime totals.
Improved his Power Swing Potential
We know that since he came out of college Cron has a ton of power. At 6-foot-5, and around 245 pounds, his strength is obvious. His swing power is above average.
However, while he hit all those home runs in his three full seasons, he also struck out more than 130 times each year as well, leading some to question if he could make enough contact to tap into his power at the highest level.
He worked persistently with each minor league hitting coach on swing-and-miss issues and on the lack of plate discipline, two things that previously held him back and a key indicator on why he played Double-A ball in 2017. The work has paid off. His pitch recognition has improved. That has led to increased walks helping to offset what will always be a big strikeout total.
Kevin Cron’s life has revolved around baseball, the game and the clubhouse. His father, Chris Cron, was an MLB player with both the then California Angels and Chicago White Sox. Currently, he is the manager of the AAA Reno Aces. Kevin’s brother, C. J. Cron, plays for the Minnesota Twins and their cousin is former Diamondbacks catcher Chad Moeller. Being around pro baseball at a young age certainly goes along way to help learn the ways players handle themselves and what it takes to be a professional. Not only that, but hanging around the players and managers and hearing their stories and their game breakdowns, you learn the in-outs of the game that are often overlooked or missed by those without this experience. This, too, has helped Cron.
Future in MLB
Since being recalled by the Diamondbacks, he has been limited mostly to pinch-hit duty. Jake Lamb’s return from injury and Christian Walker have pushed Cron’s to a limited role. But, we could see him get more playing time in the second half of the season if the Diamondbacks decide to become sellers and trade Lamb. A lot of that will depend on the team’s playoff chances. Stay tuned.