The TCU baseball team will be without two of its mainstays next season.
First baseman Kevin Cron will sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who drafted him in the 14th round two weeks ago. Cron, who helped lead the Horned Frogs to two super regionals and its second College World Series berth this season, said the time was right for him to take the next step in his career.
“My experience [at TCU] has been invaluable and I’ve loved every second of it, but at this stage in my life it’s time for me to move on and try to live out my dream,” said Cron, whose brother C.J. plays for the Angels while their father works in the Diamondbacks’ organization.
“It’s the next step in my career. I’ll always have TCU as the best part of my life.”
Cron joins pitcher Brandon Finnegan, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals as the No. 17 overall pick. Finnegan and Cron are juniors and have been integral parts of the Frogs the past three seasons. Finnegan, who attended Fort Worth Southwest High School, finished his career with a 13-16 record.
Pitcher Jordan Kipper, who played with Cron in high school, is also likely to announce he’s signing with the Angels, after being drafted in the ninth round.
It was the third time that Kipper, who transferred to TCU from Central Arizona College last fall, has been drafted. Cron was drafted in the third round out of high school after he set an Arizona high school record with a career 60 home runs.
Cron only had 14 homers at TCU, including six in 2014, the last coming in the Frogs’ 6-4 loss to Mississippi at the CWS. Cron grew up playing with a wood bat, but said his frustration with the weak bats used in the college game didn’t affect his decision.
“At times it gets frustrating when you drive a ball and don’t get rewarded, but it’s part of the game now,” he said. “You have to adapt and show you can do it with whatever they throw at you. I had some struggles while I was here, and I didn’t quite live up to what I needed to in order to maintain that.”
Cron said he feels blessed to have experienced the college baseball postseason and help TCU return to the CWS.
“To be part of this year’s team and the things we accomplished being the first national seed and hosting a super regional, I couldn’t be more blessed with the opportunities I’ve had in the three years I’ve been here,” he said. “I can’t thank the people that made it possible — the coaching staff, my teammates and all the support staff. I really matured since I got here and became the man that I am, and I have a lot of people to thank for that from TCU.”