Matt Cronin believed for a long time the day would come when he’d have an opportunity to be taken in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Cronin’s belief turned into a reality early Tuesday afternoon.
Washington selected the ace closer of the Arkansas Razorbacks and Navarre alum in the fourth round.
The moment is historic. Picked 123rd overall by the Nationals, he’s the first former Raider to be drafted into pro baseball.
Cronin has long been on a path to pro baseball. Teams showed interest him in high school and the hype only grew once he arrived at Arkansas.
He set a school record for saves in a season (14) in 2018 while helping the Razorbacks make a run to the College World Series where they finished as the national runner-up to Oregon State. Cronin has 12 saves this year.
How good is Cronin?
The second-team All-SEC selection entered the draft rated 73rd among the top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. In the SEC tournament two weeks ago, Mississippi’s Thomas Dillard said Cronin has the best fastball in the country.
One writer from CBS Sports believes Cronin could make his big-league debut as early as 2020.
The junior lefty isn’t done with college yet. Arkansas plays in the NCAA Super Regional this weekend against Mississippi.
But it won’t be long before Cronin is in minor league baseball, putting in the work to climb the ranks and one day realize his Major League dream.
“I’m excited for it,” Cronin said. “Realistically, I had an idea it was possible early on in high school, and even before that. Knowing I’ve set myself up to be good enough to go to the next level and have a chance to be successful, it means a lot.”
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