WEYMOUTH, Mass. (August 3, 2023) — Former Pittsfield Suns and College of the Holy Cross pitcher Declan Cronin became the 18th Futures League alum to play Major League Baseball (MLB) and the third to debut in July when he took the mound last Sunday for the Chicago White Sox.
The Futures League’s output of MLB alumni has tripled over the last two seasons, as 2023 marks the second straight year in which six former players have reached the highest level. A 2016 Futures League All-Star, Cronin joins pitchers Matt Gage and Cade Cavalli as former Suns to reach “The Show” and makes Pittsfield the first current Futures League organization to produce three MLB alums.
Wahconah Park marked his first summer stop in a baseball journey that ultimately saw him drafted in the 36th round (1,070th overall) following his senior year at Holy Cross in 2019. Cronin is the fourth league alum selected in the 30th round or later to make his MLB debut.
During his Futures League summer of 2016, Cronin was 1-0 with two saves, a team-best 1.17 ERA and 16 strikeouts across 15.1 innings for the Suns. The right-hander began the summer with eight consecutive scoreless appearances and allowed a run in only two of his 11 total outings. He held opponents to a miniscule .104 average for the season.
With Chicago, Cronin pitched two innings of one-hit ball in his July 30 debut against the Cleveland Guardians and recorded his first MLB strikeout two days later against the Texas Rangers.
Cronin, who has appeared in 145 games across three-plus seasons in the minors, was 1-0 with a 4.03 ERA in 41 outings for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights this season before getting the call to Chicago. The 2022 season saw him pitch a career-high 51 innings between Double-A Birmingham Barons and Charlotte, and he also earned the opportunity to pitch in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
At Holy Cross, Cronin ranks 10th in program history with his 156 strikeouts in 177.2 career innings. The Montclair, N.J., native garnered first-team All-Patriot League honors in 2019 after going 6-4 in 15 appearances and striking out 61 over 71 innings, turning his senior year performance into a June draft selection.
Cronin is the first former Crusader to play in the majors since 1977. Holy Cross is the seventh New England college program that provided the Futures League with one of its MLB alumni.
Former Boston College and Wachusett Dirt Dawgs infielder Jake Alu started the league’s record of MLB alumni debuts in 2023 when he played for the Washington Nationals on May 9. The last three all debuted during the month of July.
Worcester Bravehearts and University of New Haven alumnus Josh Walker made his first pitching appearance for the New York Mets on May 16, while Boston College and New Britain Bees product Emmet Sheehan had a no-hit debut on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 16.
A former Brockton Rox and the University of Virginia star infielder, Zack Gelof got the call July 14 to play second base for the Oakland Athletics. Prior to Cronin, Sheehan’s classmate and two-time Futures League Top Pro Prospect Sal Frelick was the latest alum to make his MLB debut, joining the Milwaukee Brewers on July 22.
For the latest news and information on the Futures League all year long, visit thefuturesleague.com and follow the league’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.