Gavin Cross, a member of the Columbia Fireflies for less than two weeks and a professional baseball player for only a few, went hitless in his club’s loss to Kannapolis Sunday. While that may not be surprising considering his inexperience, it’s a bit unusual for the former Virginia Tech outfielder the KC Royals took in the first round of this year’s MLB Draft.
Cross hadn’t failed to hit safely for eight days when four Cannon Ballers pitchers shut him down Sunday, marking only the third time he’s been hitless in the 13 games he’s played since debuting in the Arizona Complex League Aug. 4.
But simply saying he’s hit safely in 10 of 13 games doesn’t do justice to how good Cross has been.
KC Royals top 2022 draft selection Gavin Cross has been sizzling so far this season.
Cross wasted no time making his first marks as a professional. Kansas City made him their top pick July 17, he signed for the $5,202,900 ninth slot value less than a week later, and singled in his first ACL at-bat Aug. 4. He went 2-for-4 in his second game, then 2-for 3 with a double and home run in his third.
The Royals immediately rewarded him with his first promotion, a bump to Low-A Columbia, and he singled, stole a base and drove in a run in his first game before going hitless in the next two.
But Cross came roaring back. He singled twice and homered Aug. 14, collected another three hits—including two homers—Aug. 17, clubbed another home run against Kannapolis Saturday to give him five in 13 games, and had a six-game hitting streak until Kannapolis snapped it Sunday.
He’s also doubled twice, tripled once, driven in 11 runs, is slashing .282/.378/.692, and has a 1.070 OPS since arriving in Columbia. Per FanGraphs, his wRC+ was 198 entering play Sunday.
Combined with his three-game ACL numbers, Cross is hitting .327 with a .421 OBP and 1.176 OPS, and 14 RBIs in 13 games.
He also hasn’t made an error in center field.
And MLB Pipeline lists him as Kansas City’s No. 1 prospect in its latest club ratings.
What’s next for Cross remains to be seen. The Fireflies’ regular season ends Sept. 11, as does High-A Quad Cities’, so chances are he’ll finish the campaign at Columbia—a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, whose regular season lasts only a week more, isn’t likely.
Next year, though, will be a different story. If Cross finishes 2022 well, look for him to begin next season at Quad Cities, and don’t be surprised if he makes it to Northwest Arkansas, and possibly even Triple-A Omaha, before the year concludes. And Kansas City isn’t out of the question for 2024.
Kansas City’s No. 1 draft pick and No. 1 prospect is doing quite well.