A well-rounded prospect, Virginia Tech’s outfielder had put himself on the map. To be fair, Gavin Cross put himself on scout’s radars after his freshman year. This year, however, he is taking the Hokies to new heights and has them with a chance at the College World Series. The kid has been raking. Let’s see what he brings to the field.
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Gavin Cross, Outfielder, Virginia Tech
Weight: 210 lbs.
2020 Stats: 16 G, .369/.409/.385, 0 HR, 7 SB, 14 R, 8 RBI
2021 Stats: 51 G, .345/.415/.621, 11 HR, 9 SB, 48 R, 35 RBI
2022 Stats: 47 G, .332/.415/.643, 13 HR, 11 SB, 60 R, 38 RBI
Cross is above average in every aspect of the game. As you can see from the stats above, he has been able to bring his talent every season at Virgina Tech. With the team in the top 5 in college baseball, Cross should get plenty of exposure in Omaha. He is already a first-round talent and could move himself up a bit with a good showing in Nebraska.
Cross has an extremely quick bat. He loads up with a pronounced leg kick but has been able to keep his weight back and explode to the ball. He barrels up well and has some pop to the opposite field. The left-handed hitter has also been able to improve his plate discipline. Cross has bolstered his walk rate from 7.3 percent to 11.4 and has also decreased his strikeout rate from 20.5 percent to 13.1.
Defensively, Cross has transitioned to centerfield this season. He has been solid, and his speed can help him chasing down balls in the gap. Cross can definitely swipe some bags and is aggressive but smart on the bases. His arm is strong enough and his throws are accurate. He is an all-around player, and some scouts believe he will be a 20-20 guy in the majors. Cross should also hit for a solid average.
Despite being moved to centerfield this season, many evaluators believe Cross is destined for a corner outfield spot and possibly first base where he can be an excellent defender. While he has improved his plate discipline, he will need to continue to work on his contact rates. The higher levels of pitching will test Cross and his pitch recognition.
Pro Comparison: Christian Yelich
Cross is similar in size to Yelich at 6-foot-3 and around 200 pounds. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder has always had the ability to take a walk and even in his younger years showed good plate discipline. Cross may have a little less speed and a little more power. The key to the 21-year-old hitting like Yelich at the higher levels will be his ability to make enough contact. Defensively they are also similar as Yelich was usually an above-average left fielder, but not very good in centerfield. Cross will likely follow the same path, but if he can hit at the higher levels, his bat will play anywhere.
Draft Prediction: Minnesota Twins, Round 1, Pick 8
The Twins don’t have much depth in the outfield in their system. Austin Martin is the only one who currently ranks in the top 10 in the organization. Byron Buxton is locked in, but Max Kepler is only under control through 2024. That would give Minnesota two and a half years to see if Cross can move up to the majors.
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