After selecting right-hander Jackson Rutledge at No. 17 overall in the 1st round of the 2019 MLB Draft and third baseman Drew Mendoza at No. 94 overall in Round 3, the Washington Nationals selected left-handed reliever Matt Cronin with the 123rd overall pick in the 4th round of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Cronin, a 21-year-old junior, was strictly a reliever for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, saving 12 games while posting a 2.00 ERA, 14 walks, 40 Ks, and a .163 BAA in 27 innings pitched in 2019.
“This is a guy who is a pure reliever,” MLB.com’s Jim Callis said while offering analysis on the pick, “and he’s one of the best in college baseball, so he can get [to the majors] pretty quick and if you like spin rates, you love Matt Cronin, because he’s got outstanding spin rates on both of his pitches. A 92-96 MPH fastball gets tremendous carry up in the strike zone, it’s one of those fastballs that seems like it rises, and then when you’re trying to deal with that, he has an over-the-top curveball, that could be a true hammer, in the mid-to-upper 70s, there’s effort and recoil in there, so you’re not going to make him a starter, Arkansas never really tried to do that. Had trouble throwing strikes early in his career, but he [did a] better job as a sophomore, regressed a little bit this year. If he can throw strikes he can get to the big leagues very quickly.”
“You’re not [entertaining] any idea of making this guy a starter,” Callis added, “you’re saying go out there, do what you do, go after guys with that fastball and curveball and you’ll go as quick as your strike-throwing ability takes you.”
#Nationals select LHP Matt Cronin (Arkansas) with their 4th Round selection, #123 overall. #MLBDraft #OnePursuit— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) June 4, 2019
Power arm, FB t96-97 with a hard CB that can be a miss-bat pitch. Could move quickly in a 'pen role and be a LH relief piece. #72 on @2080ball Top 125. pic.twitter.com/kBNsfLFFjH