The Pacific Coast League announced Monday that Reno Aces infielder Kevin Cron and New Orleans Baby Cakes right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne have been tabbed as the Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of June 25-July 1, 2018. Cron is honored with this award for the second time in five weeks, while Despaigne nets his first career weekly award.
Cron jumpstarted an Aces offense that averaged over 12 runs-per-game in their four wins last week by driving in 15, the most in professional baseball (Minor and Major League players). In six games, he hit .462 (12-for-26), clubbing five home runs, the most in Triple-A Baseball. Cron totaled 29 bases and scored nine runs, totals that each tied for the most among players in Minor League Baseball's highest classification. Over half of Cron's 12 hits went for extra-bases (7), contributing to a PCL weekly-best 1.115 slugging percentage.
The Southern California native's week was highlighted by a three-homer, seven-RBI performance on June 27 against Salt Lake. Cron hit a pair of solo home runs and a grand slam in Reno's 14-4 win. Among PCL players this season, Cron is the fourth to homer three times in a game and the third to drive in at least seven runs. Two days later, on June 30 in Tacoma, Cron posted another multi-homer game, his third in his first 50 games at the Triple-A level. He reached base four times, with three hits and a walk, and drove in six in the Aces' 14-8 triumph. That marked Cron's third game this year with six or more RBI, making him the only player in franchise history to post multiple games of six-plus RBI in a single-season.
Cron, tabbed by Baseball America as a top 25 prospect in the Diamondbacks system, has flourished in his first stint in Triple-A. Since being activated off the disabled list on May 4, Cron has driven in the most runs in professional baseball (54); he has hit .303 (59-for-195) with 13 homers in that time. The TCU product was also the PCL's Player of the Week for the period of May 28-June 3 after hitting four home runs and driving in 14. Cron is coming off a season in which he was the MVP of the Southern League, hitting 25 home runs with 91 RBI for Double-A Jackson.
Despaigne made two appearances for the Baby Cakes, working a combined 10.1 shutout innings, striking out eight against only one walk. His first appearance, June 26 against Iowa, he entered in relief and got the win after working 5.1 innings. Despaigne retired 15 of the 18 hitters he faced from the second through the seventh innings, helping the Baby Cakes to a 3-1 win. Then, in a start on July 1 against Oklahoma City, Despaigne hurled five shutout innings, scattering five hits and striking out five in New Orleans' 2-1 walk-off win.
The Cuban native has spent the majority of the season with Miami, where he has worked to a 5.31 ERA (20.1 IP, 12 ER) in 11 appearances (1 start). He was optioned on June 6 and has since made five appearances (1 start) for New Orleans, pitching to a 3.63 ERA (17.1 IP, 7 ER) with a 15:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 31-year-old is with his third organization (San Diego, Baltimore, Miami) in five seasons since joining the Major League affiliated ranks, which followed an eight-year run pitching professionally in Cuba.