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Diamondbacks promote 1B prospect Kevin Cron

Cron had been putting up ridiculous numbers, even for the Pacific Coast League, which earned him an MLB opportunity.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Fall Stars Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It appears Operation #FreeKevinCron is underway. Cron entered the season as my #29 prospect as an older and blocked prospect, but a strong AAA season plus less obstacles had him move up all the way to #11 at the pre-draft checkpoint.

Looking to inject life into their lineup, the Diamondbacks are turning to one of their better position player prospects to fill a hole. Ahead of the series with the San Francisco Giants, the Dbacks will be promoting 1B prospect Kevin Cron. Cron is a Phoenix native who went to high school for Mountain Pointe HS in Ahwatukee before going to Texas Christian University for his college ball. The Dbacks drafted Cron in the 14th round of the 2014 draft and he'll have the chance to contribute for his hometown club less than 5 years later.

Cron is a career .278/.340/.516 hitter over 2500+ minor league plate appearances with a 22% strikeout rate and 7% walk rate. This season he's been the best hitter in the Pacific Coast league, putting together a .339/.437/.800 slashline with 13 2B, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 42 R, and an excellent 27/33 BB/K ratio in roughly 200 PA for the Dbacks' AAA affiliate.

We've had plenty of discussion about having a Triple A affiliate in Reno and how it inflates offensive numbers. Taking in Cron's offensive production in context, Fangraphs rates Cron's AAA wRC+ at 186. Obviously those numbers aren't going to repeat at the MLB level, but the otherworldly AAA numbers suggest Cron is ready to get an everyday chance at the MLB level.

Cron profiles mostly as a first baseman long term although he's seen recent action at third base as another way to get him ABs. Due to athletic limitations, the majority of Cron's starts should be at 1B than 3B. With the limited defensive profile, Cron will have to be an above average bat to stick in the majors. Fortunately he's been an above average hitter at every stop so far in his minor league career, so there is optimism for that.

Cron's batted ball profile is very befitting for a 6'5" slugger with a very low ground ball rate that's sat in the 30% range. He also uses the whole field and is adept at getting the barrel on the ball, so there is the potential for a high BABIP skill for Cron to go with strong power numbers. His ceiling as a hitter will depend on his ability to limit K's and draw walks. If Cron can draw walks, then we're talking about the potential for a Paul Goldschmidt hitting profile, although the chances he puts up half the value Goldschmidt did is still low.