BayBears' Cron plates five, ties career high

D-backs prospect continues hot streak with grand slam, double in rout

Kevin Cron is fourth in the Southern League with 58 RBIs in 84 games. (Paul Bowers/vpbowers.com)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | July 16, 2016 1:26 AM

Even if his batting average and on-base percentage aren't where he wants them to be, Kevin Cron continues to produce. 

The D-backs prospect went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and a double and matched a career high with five RBIs as Double-A Mobile mashed Chattanooga, 20-2, on Friday at AT&T Park. 

"That's been the one thing I've done well this season is hit with runners in scoring position," said Cron, who leads the BayBears with 14 homers and 58 RBIs. "We did well getting guys on base all night long and that's my job in the middle of the order, whether things are going good or bad, is to produce to runs and get guys in when they get on base. If nothing else, I just need to do what I can to help the team get a win."

The 23-year-old first baseman laced an RBI double to left field in the first inning. And after walking in the third, he launched a grand slam to left in the fourth. 

"Being a big guy in the middle of the order, you want to drive the ball," the 2014 14th-round pick said. "At the same time, every player wants to succeed at everything. The name of the game is just consistently putting good swings on pitches. Lately, I've been doing that a little bit more and hopefully, I can keep that going."

Over his last three games, Cron is 5-for-13 with two homers and nine RBIs to raise his average to .226. 

"The first half didn't go as well as I planned," he said. "Anytime your team is playing well it's fun because you get to forget about how you're doing individually and just try to settle in on your own. I've been able to come into a few situations to drive in runs and do my job in the middle of the order and let the numbers handle themselves. The less you can think about that stuff, the better.

"When you come into Double-A, the level of competition steps up pretty significantly. It's never good to hit a rough patch like I did in the start of the season, but if anything, it gave me the ability to learn from it and learn from what I'm doing wrong when I'm struggling and think back to what I was doing well when I was having success and find a happy middle ground. Now I'm able to step back and make adjustments to make myself a better player moving forward."

The younger brother of Angels first baseman C.J. Cron, the TCU product said that the siblings have a regular back-and-forth during the season. And while they try to keep the chatter away from the day-to-day grind, each delivers a brotherly nudge when necessary. 

"Normally, we try to leave baseball out of it, aside from the little messages to let each other know that we're keeping tabs on one another," the younger Cron said. "We both know how hard this game is. There have been times this year where I've been really struggling and he'll shoot me a message to tell me to keep doing my thing; and when he struggles, I'll do the same thing.

"We've both been playing this game a really long time and we know what it takes to do well, and it just goes back to trusting that and sometimes it takes a little kick in the butt from someone you know and trust just to get you thinking the right thoughts again. That's all you can control, thinking the right thoughts and trying to do the right thing."

The BayBears pounded 21 hits, including four homers. In addition to Cron, Rudy Flores, Oscar Hernandez and Ildemaro Vargas all went deep. 

D-backs No. 15 prospect Dawel Lugo went 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI for Mobile. He's 8-for-18 since a promotion from Class A Advanced Visalia.

Edgar Garcia (2--2) got the win in relief, allowing one run on one hit with six strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings. Jared Miller struck out three over three perfect frames to pick up his first Double-A save. 

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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