TCU

Two MLB rookies with Diamondbacks adding to TCU baseball’s run of big-league players

Former TCU pitcher Young gives Arizona boost vs. Rangers

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young, who went to TCU, allowed only one run Tuesday night in a victory over the Texas Rangers.
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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young, who went to TCU, allowed only one run Tuesday night in a victory over the Texas Rangers.

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle couldn’t attend the game at Globe Life Park on Tuesday night, much to his disappointment.

Some recruits were on campus earlier in the day, and they took priority over two Arizona Diamondbacks players who developed into MLB prospects as Horned Frogs.

Each had a hand in a 9-2 victory over the Texas Rangers, and that might be one of the best selling points Schlossnagle to tell those visiting recruits.

Left-hander Alex Young allowed only one run in 5 1/3 innings, and designated hitter Kevin Cron singled and scored a run in the sixth inning.

Wood and Cron are 2 of 6 former TCU players currently on MLB rosters, a list of ex-Frogs headed by Jake Arrieta, Matt Carpenter and the recently traded Andrew Cashner. The other is catcher Bryan Holaday, who spent time with the Rangers in 2016.

Four other former TCU players in the minors have had at least a cup of big-league coffee, and they all are helping keep TCU visible in the world of college baseball and in the minds of prep players considering the Frogs.

“I think it helps recruiting-wise, definitely,” Young said. “I think guys coming back and working out [in the off-season], I think it awesome just to show how awesome the program is and how strong it is. That definitely helps.”

Young continued an impressive stretch to open his big-league career. He has won all three times he has started, and his ERA is a slim 0.96 in 18 2/3 innings. He tossed six no-hit innings July 7 before being lifted as he hit his pitch limit.

He allowed only three hits Tuesday, including a fourth inning solo homer to Joey Gallo that erase a 1-0 Diamondbacks lead.

It was 5-1 when Young, who made his MLB debut June 27, was lifted.

“He’s one of our young pitchers that really hasn’t been stretched out that far,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re going to eventually get there to 95 to 100 pitches with him, but we’ve got to build up.”

Young, who retired the final five batters he faced, has brought stability to the fifth spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation as contend for a wild-card spot in the National League. Lovullo didn’t commit to Young long-term, but indicated he has a firm grasp on the spot.

Young outpitched Lance Lynn, who allowed five runs in six innings, and regretted only the pitch to Gallo.

“I thought it was a good pitch, maybe more over the plate than I wanted it to be,” Young said. “There were times I was behind in the count but made pitches when I needed to and go outs when I needed to. That’s why was I was successful, and having good defense behind me.”

Young was the Diamondbacks’ second-round pick in 2015 three years after he didn’t sign with the Rangers out of high school. They took him in the 32nd round in 2012.

He went 17-10 with a 2.93 ERA over 61 games/20 starts at TCU, including one game at Globe Life Park as a freshman against UT-Arlington. He and Cron live in Dallas and had a few dozen friends and family apiece in the crowd, though Cron said that he is moving to Arizona to be closer to the Diamondbacks in the off-season and spring training.

Cron, a member of the 2014 All-College World Series team, entered the season as the top power hitter in the Diamondbacks’ system, according to Baseball America. He entered Tuesday with four homers in 49 at-bats, but was hitting only .204. Throw in eight doubles, though, and he was slugging .531.

He went 1 for 4 in the win, though with three strikeouts. He is trying to adapt to not being an everyday player, something that can be difficult for an MLB rookie, and is searching for a routine to keep his swing consistent.

But being in the major leagues is better than he ever envisioned it.

“It’s amazing how everything that you’ve dreamed about your whole life, when it finally comes to fruition, you couldn’t dream up how awesome this is,” said Cron, whose older brother C.J. plays for the Minnesota Twins.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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