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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 67: Declan Cronin

Improbably, his move from Birmingham to Charlotte produced even better numbers

Glendale Desert Dogs v. Scottsdale Scorpions
A very solid season in relief landed Declan Cronin in the Fall League in 2022.
Jerry Kime/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Declan Cronin
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
210 pounds
Age: 25
2022 High Level Charlotte (AAA)
Age relative to high level -3.0 years
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system 13
Overall 2022 regular season stats 2-2 ⚾️ 49 games (one start) ⚾️ 51 innings ⚾️ 3.71 ERA ⚾️ 1.373 WHIP ⚾️ 36 K ⚾️ 19 BB

Declan Cronin, as a senior pitcher for Regis H.S. (New York City), produced a 2.13 ERA and 61 strikeouts and 41 strikeouts. The year before, he helped his team win the state baseball championship. Opting to cross state lines to play college ball for the College of the Holy Cross University (Worcester, Mass.), Cronin produced decent but unspectacular numbers. During his senior year for the Crusaders, he produced a 4.06 ERA and 1.54 WHIP as a starting pitcher. Believing that he profiled better as a reliever, the White Sox selected him in the 36th round of the 2019 MLB draft.

That year, he combined with the AZL White Sox and Kannapolis for an outstanding 2.88 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 20 relief appearances. In 34 1⁄3 innings, he relinquished just 25 hits (.208 OBA) and 11 walks (8.1%) while striking out 29 (21.5%).

After the pandemic layoff, Cronin in 2021 struggled with Winston-Salem in 38 innings with a 5.08 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, as he allowed 33 hits (.226 OBA) and 19 walks (11.3%) while striking out 37 (22.0%). However, after receiving a late-season promotion to Birmingham, he produced better results in a smaller sample size. In seven outings totaling 8 1⁄3 innings, he produced a 2.16 ERA and 1.20 WHIP by relinquishing just seven hits (.226 OBA) and three walks (8.3%) while fanning six (16.7%).

In 2022, Cronin repeated his pattern of slower starts and/or rising to the challenge of better competition, pitching to a 3.86 ERA /1.393 WHIP over the first half of his season (Birmingham) and a 3.52 ERA/1.348 WHIP in the second (Charlotte). Given a very solid overall year, Cronin was sent to the Arizona Fall League for further work, where he acquitted himself OK after a long season, with five earned runs over nine innings.

Cronin’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Durability 89
Walks 55
Hittable 54
vs. Power 54
K/BB 42
Strikeouts 30
Team Winning Percentage .441

While producing lackluster strikeout numbers even during his collegiate career, Cronin has survived by keeping the ball down. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all balls hit off of him this year were grounders. Because Cronin doesn’t possess high-octane stuff, he’ll have to do more of the little things to stifle hitters: Keeping the ball down, staying ahead of hitters, change speeds, alter the hitters eye-levels both vertically and horizontally. Also, Cronin will need to stifle lefties a bit better by developing pitches that drift away them — perhaps continued work on a cutter or changeup would help.

Cronin will break camp back with the Knights, and while his profile doesn’t scream first call-up to the South Side pen, anything could happen with a strong spring/start to the Charlotte season. Don’t count out a 36th round choice who’s made it this far already.

2023 South Side Sox Top 102 White Sox Prospects

67. Declan Cronin, RHRP
68. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
69. Colby Smelley, C
70. Ethan Hammerberg, RHRP
71. Lincoln Henzman, RHRP
72. Vince Vannelle, RHRP
73. Brooks Baldwin, 3B-2B
74. James Beard, CF
75. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
76. Ronny Hernandez, C
77. Troy Claunch, C
78. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
79. Tim Elko, 1B
80. Yoelvín Silven, RHRP
81. Trey Jeans, LHRP
82. Jerry Burke, RHSP
83. Carlos Jiménez, 1B
84. Mason Adams, RHSP
85. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
86. Ernesto Jaquez, RHSP
87. Laz Rivera, 3B
88. Xavier Fernández, C
89. Álvaro Agüero, CF
90. Ben Norman, RF
91. Erick Bello, RHRP
92. Adisyn Coffey, RHRP
93. Arnold Prado, RF
94. Alsander Womack, 2B
95. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
96. Evan Skoug, C
97. Noah Owen, RHSP
98. Javier Mora, 2B
99. Will Kincanon, RHRP
100. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
101. Billy Seidl, RHRP
102. José Rodulfo, RHRP