Name: Kevin Cron
DOB: 2/17/1993 (Age 25)
Acquired: 14th Round Pick, 2014 MLB Draft
Most Notable Tool: Raw Power
Season Stats: 104 G, 438 PA, .309/.368/.554, 28 2B, 1 3B, 22 HR, 97 RBI, 57 R, 1/1 SB, 137 wRC+ for AAA Reno
2018 Season Summary: Cron had a successful 2017 season for AA Jackson with his raw and peripherals numbers taking a big leap forward before seeing Fall League Duty. An injury delayed his start to the season to May, but he picked up where he left off. At this point, Cron’s development as a prospect has pretty much plateaued offensively as a high K, low OBP, big power skill player. The team tried him out at 3B in Reno to get him and Christian Walker more ABs together, but it’s likely that the team will have to commit to one player long term instead of both.
Tools: Hit 45/50, Power 65/65, Defense 45/50, Speed 35
Cron will swing and miss a lot, which is why the low hit tool grade, but when he makes contact it’s typically in the air with authority. That’s why I think he has the possibility for a 50 hit tool despite a likely 25% K rate and 8% walk rate at the MLB level. Cron doesn’t move too well, although not unusual for a guy of his stature anyway, so he’s limited to 1B duty for the most part. I think he can work on the finer parts of defense and baserunning, such as being able to scoop errant throws in the dirt area around 1B as well as knowing when to take the extra base on the basepaths. Overall I think he’s still be below average in both areas, but best case scenario it’s not hurting the team too much.
Upside: I’m not 100% sure if Cron develops into an everyday player, otherwise he’d be much higher on the list. He’s proven that the minors are too easy for him, but is blocked at 1B by both Paul Goldschmidt and Christian Walker in the organization. I like Walker’s skill set a bit more than Cron’s although having 3 option years is equally as valuable in my opinion. Best case scenario, Cron puts the bat on the ball enough to warrant a starting 1B role. If that’s the case, I expect a .250/.320/.480 slash from Cron with 25 2B, 25 HR, and a 25% K rate. That would make him valuable enough to be a 1.5-2.0 WAR player if his defense isn’t a complete bust.
Risk: The biggest concern is Cron simply doesn’t bring enough to the table to warrant more than a RH power bat off the bench. That in itself is a decent outcome for Cron’s draft pedigree. Aside from being a right handed power bat, there isn’t much else he adds to the table. He’s not nearly as athletic as Paul Goldschmidt or Christian Walker, which is a big negative on defense and baserunning compared to those two.
Projection: Projections are pretty much for players who are or near MLB ready. Cron will either likely develop as a bench bat, starting DH, or by some miracle ends up as a capable starting 1B. Odds point more towards a bench bat with the Diamondbacks.
Likely 2019 Assignment: Cron will likely be duking it out with Christian Walker for the final spot on the 25 man roster as a RH power bat off the bench, although I see Walker winning it unless Cron just mashes his way onto the roster. With things he can improve upon (walk rate, defense, baserunning), I’d still prefer he see everyday ABs and regular playing time at 1B, so he’s going to Reno again even though he’s proven to be capable of hitting PCL pitching.
ETA: 2019 Season