There is not much going right for outfielder Gavin Cross this season. His struggles at the plate took him from a fringe top-100 prospect and the KC Royals' top prospect to outside the team's top five. Now, Cross lands on the injured list for the first time in his professional career.
Why did the KC Royals send Gavin Cross to the IL?
Royals Review's Preston Farr reported on Aug. 13 that Cross was "battling an illness which has sidelined him some this week". Then, the Royals sent Cross to the seven-day injured list according to the organization's minor-league transaction wire. MLB.com's Anne Rogers confirmed the reason for Cross being out of action.
This illness may not be the only culprit, but Cross has not appeared in a game since Aug. 9, when he appeared for one at-bat. The Royals promoted Cross to Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Aug. 8, making his subsequent absence puzzling.
The only thing more puzzling for Royals fans before was Cross' promotion in the first place. The 22-year-old hardly dominated High-A pitching, posting a 93 wRC+ and .683 OPS in 94 games. Cross's pre-draft evaluations in 2022 had little worries about his hit tool, as he looked like a polished hitter already out of Virginia Tech. But, the jump from Low-A Columbia to High-A Quad Cities proved to be a very steep learning curve.
Cross did have a historic stretch with the River Bandits, but the negatives outweighed the positives immensely. Maybe the expectations were set too high for the 2022 ninth-overall pick heading into 2023, but such is the life of being a top-10 selection.
Cross can gain some goodwill back among fans with a strong ending to the 2023 season. There are not many more games in the Double-A season, but his succeeding against that level's pitching would be notable entering the winter. But, for now, Cross needs to focus less on his swing and more on feeling better