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D-backs Farm Rumblings: When will Kevin Cron slow down?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Kevin Cron is a home run-hitting machine. Much more on that and everything else going on in the D-backs’ minor league system below.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 59-66 (2nd place in Pacific Northern Division; 7.0 games behind Sacramento)

Cron’s assault on PCL pitching continued Tuesday night as the slugger went deep three times in a 10-6 road loss at Oklahoma City. Cron jacked a two-run shot in the first, scoring Domingo Leyba and putting the Aces up 2-0. In the fifth, he left the yard again, and again scored Leyba to pull Reno within a run at 6-5. His third homer came in the seventh, a solo shot that tied the game at 6-6. Unfortunately for Reno, the bullpen yielded four runs to lose the game and only one other Aces player, Ben DeLuzio, had a hit in the game. For Cron, it was his second three-homer game. The first one came back in April against Fresno.

He wasn’t done. Cron homered again Friday in a 17-7 loss

Then, on Saturday, Cron would homer again, this one a 464-foot, two-run shot in the first inning, that helped Reno earn a 13-10 win over Sacramento. The Aces exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to steal the win. Tim Locastro had a two-run double that snapped a tie game and gave Reno a 12-10 lead.

Cron now has 39 homers in 72 minor league games and another five round-trippers with the D-backs. For the season, he’s averaging a home run every 6.9 at bats. The MLB’s leading home run hitter, Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, averages a long ball every 10.4 at bats.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 31-22 (2nd place in North Division; 4.5 games behind Montgomery)

Third baseman Drew Ellis smacked a pair of two-run home runs Thursday, but it wasn’t enough as the Generals fell 10-9 to the Montgomery Biscuits. Ellis’ first homer, which came in the bottom of the first, was his first since July 30. He added another blast in the fifth. It was his second two-homer game of 2019, with the first coming June 15 against Biloxi.

Jackson rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to take a 6-4 win over Montgomery Friday night that snapped a three-game skid. All the runs came on RBI doubles. Seth Beer did the first damage, scoring Daulton Varsho with a one-out double that cut Montgomery’s lead to 4-3. The next batter, Renae Martinez, doubled in L.T. Tolbert and Beer to give the Generals a 5-4 lead. Two batters later, Pavin Smith doubled in Martinez to tack on the insurance run heading into the ninth, where Miguel Aguilar retired the Biscuits to secure the win.

Varsho started the week by being named the Southern League Player of the Week while also landing on MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 3-3
For the season: 33-23 (1st place in North Division; 6.5 games ahead of Modesto)

Alek Thomas, one of Arizona’s top prospects, hit his first home run since joining the Rawhide, but unfortunately, it came during an 11-3 loss to San Jose Tuesday night. Thomas homered off of San Jose starter Aaron Phillips in the third, taking a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left. Thomas had eight home runs in 91 games at Kane County before earning his promotion on Aug. 3.

Jose Herrera had four RBIs, including one in the top of the 10th that came on a bases-loaded walk to help the Rawhide to a 7-6 win over Rancho Cucamonga Friday night. That run gave Visalia a 6-5 lead, but it was the next run that proved to be the difference. With one out, Eduardo Diaz scored on a wild pitch with the bases juiced to put the Rawhide’s lead at two. Jayson McKinley allowed a run in the bottom of the 10th, but was able to navigate out of any further damage to pick up his fourth win of the season.

Like Varsho, Rawhide infielder Jancarlos Cintron won a weekly award heading into Monday’s action.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 35-20 (1st place in Western Division; 2.0 games ahead of Clinton)

The Cougars pitching staff turned in an outstanding effort in a 3-2 win over Burlington Monday. Michel Gelabert started and allowed two runs over three innings. That’s when the bullpen took over. Kenny Hernandez threw three scoreless frames before handing off to Ryan Fritz and Jose Cuas, who combined to keep the Bees off the scoreboard over the final third of the contest.

Center fielder Dominic Fletcher had himself a night, going 4-for-4 with a two-run home run in leading the Cougars to a 4-3 win over Peoria Friday night. Fletcher’s blast came in the fifth inning to tie the score at 3-3. Two batters later, Zack Shannon singled home Joey Rose to give Kane County its winning margin. Fletcher has thrived in his first season of pro ball since being drafted out of Arkansas in June. It was his first four-hit game, although he’s already had 19 multi-hit contests since his debut. Fletcher batted .476 (10-for-21) on the week with three doubles and six RBIs.

Thursday night, the Cougars celebrated Seinfeld Night, which included not only a really cool J. Peterman bobblehead, but also the man himself crashing the broadcast booth.

Hillsboro Hops (Short-season-A Northwest League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 13-10 (Tied for 1st place with Eugene in South Division; 3.0 games ahead of Salem-Keizer)

Four Hops pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over Boise Thursday night. Conor Grammes, a fifth-round pick out of Xavier in June, started and went two innings before handing things off to All-Star Marcos Tineo, who worked four scoreless frames to pick up the win. Ethan Larrison and Liu Fuenmayor were perfect over the last three innings.

The lights-out pitching continued Friday for the Hops as Tyler Holton, Nick Snyder, Mailon Arroyo and Eduardo Herrera combined to allow just one run and two hits while striking out 16 with out issuing a walk in a tight 2-1 win over Boise. While the pitchers were dominating, Hillsboro got both runs courtesy of right fielder Jorge Barrosa. The 18-year-old from Venezuela had three hits on the night, including an RBI double in the third inning and single in the fifth that scored Ricky Martinez and gave the Hops a 2-1 advantage which stood the rest of the game.

Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the week: 1-3
For the season: 9-8 (2nd place in North Division; 3.5 games behind Billings)

The Osprey got a solid win Friday night against the tough Ogden Raptors, 7-1. Missoula erupted for four runs in the fifth and got outstanding pitching in handing Ogden a rare loss. The Raptors, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, saw their record fall to 42-13 with the loss. profiled Missoula’s Spencer Brickhouse, the D-backs’ seventh-round draft pick in June from East Carolina.

D-backs (Rookie Arizona League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 10-11 (Tied with Athletics Gold for 3rd place in East Division; 6.5 games behind Giants Orange)

D-backs 1 (Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 27-39 (6th place in Baseball City Division; 18.0 games behind Reds)

D-backs 2 (Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 3-2
For the season: 40-25 (1st place in San Pedro Division; 1.5 games ahead of Phillies White)

Third baseman Alexander Hernandez hit two solo home runs leading the D-backs2 to a 6-2 win over Cardinals Red Tuesday. Meanwhile Arturo Roque, an 18-year-old from Mexico, was outstanding in his latest start. The right-hander went five innings, and allowed just one hit while striking out three. Roque pushed his season mark to 4-1 with a 2.51 and a 1.14 WHIP.

Mauricio Bascunan, Jose Bohorquez and Pablo Pimentel got together on another gem Wednesday in a 3-0 win over the Brewers. The trio combined to allow just two hits and three walks while striking out seven in the D-backs’ second consecutive win.


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