EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed infielder David Cronin to a contract extension and added pitcher Sam Held to the 2020 roster after a trade with the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association.
Cronin is coming off his second season with the Otters in 2019, batting .285 with 65 runs, 34 RBIs, 50 walks and 23 extra-base hits. He also started all 92 games he appeared in.
“A goal of mine this season is to start every game,” Cronin said. “Off days are definitely needed from time to time but playing a full season without a scheduled off day would be a pretty cool accomplishment.”
“It’s nice to have David at the leadoff spot, as he is a proven table setter by getting on base and running the bases very well,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He’s always a threat to swipe a bag and goes first to third very aggressively.”
“I’m excited to get to go out every day, knowing I get to play baseball,” Cronin said.
“It was a long winter of officiating high school basketball, so I am definitely looking forward to getting back to baseball.”
Cronin was drafted in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox. In 2017, Cronin split time between the Arizona League White Sox and the Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer league, both at the rookie level. In 39 games in the Chicago organization, Cronin hit .286 with 18 RBIs and 7 stolen bases.
“If David continues to do what he does best, taking his walks, bunting, and getting on base, he’ll be the top leadoff guy in the league,” McCauley said.
Cronin’s extension comes a few weeks before Spring Training was originally scheduled to start in the last week of April. However, Spring Training for the Frontier League will be delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and Cronin was asked how he’s preparing for the season during this unprecedented time.
“During this crisis, it can definitely be hard for anybody to stay motivated to do anything these days, but for us as baseball players who are constantly waiting to get another opportunity to play this summer, we have to stay motivated to stay in shape,” Cronin said. “We all just have to keep grinding.”
Cronin stated he’s been running, going on bike rides, working out in his basement, and hitting baseballs off a tee in his garage.
Cronin joined the Otters in 2018 and was a Frontier League All-Star that season.
Held was acquired in a trade with the Sioux City Explorers. In 2019 with the Explorers, Held was 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 appearances, while striking out 25 in 30.1 innings.
“Sam is a proven backend of the bullpen arm, coming in highly recommended by peers in Sioux City,” McCauley said. “He should figure into the competition for the closing job.”
Held has also shown the ability to throw for strikes and record strikeouts, combining for 123 strikeouts to only 39 walks in the last three years.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to still play and help the team win,” Held said.
“During this time, I’ve luckily been able to play catch every day and throw off the mound with a buddy of mine to stay ready for whenever the season starts.”
Held also has affiliated experience, spending three seasons in the Washington Nationals organization. The right-hander was drafted by the Nationals in the 29th round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Nevada.
“My pitching style is more of going after the hitters and attacking the strike zone,” Held said.
Held appeared for the Hagerstown Suns, Auburn Doubledays, Potomac Nationals, and the Gulf Coast Nationals. Overall, Held went 8-16 with a 3.89 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 70 appearances and 157.1 innings pitched in affiliated baseball.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.