Arizona native Westbrook hits first Fall League homer

D-backs' No. 21 prospect's first-inning shot powers Salt River in win

Arizona native Westbrook hits first Fall League homer

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Jamie Westbrook and Kevin Cron, both Arizona Diamondbacks farmhands, homered for the Salt River Rafters Friday in a 4-1 victory over the Glendale Desert Dogs at Camelback Ranch.

Westbrook, the D-backs' No. 21 prospect, and Cron each connected on two-run shots off of Glendale starter Austin Voth, the Nationals' No. 9 prospect.


The Rafters pushed across two runs in the first inning before making an out. After Voth hit Brewers No. 8 prospect Isan Diaz (No. 96 overall) with a pitch to begin the game, Westbrook, a Gilbert, Ariz. native who played high school baseball at Basha High in Chandler, turned on a fastball from the right-hander and deposited it over the wall in left field for his first Fall League home run.

"Just saw it up and it was in, so I'm like, 'You know what? I'll swing hard in case,' and good things happened," said Westbrook, who finished 1-for-3 with a walk at the plate.

Glendale would score its first run in the bottom of the second, when Dodgers No. 4 prospect Willie Calhoun (No. 87 overall) plated Danny Hayes (White Sox) with a single.

The Rafters' pitching staff kept Glendale's offense in check after that, though, as seven hurlers combined to scatter two hits over the final seven innings.

Cron extended Salt River's lead to 4-1 with his second Fall League homer, a two-out shot in the top of the fourth inning.

"It was the second breaking ball that [Voth] threw me in a row," said the 23-year-old Cron. "He threw it again in a little bit better spot for me to get the barrel on the ball."

D-backs in AFL: Westbrook, Cron enjoying homecoming

Cron, a former Texas Christian standout who played at Mountain Pointe High in Phoenix, was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 14th round of the 2014 Draft. He struggled at the plate early in the Fall League, collecting just one hit in his first 26 at-bats, but is showing signs that he's turning the corner of late, going 4-for-12 with three RBIs at least one hit in each of his last three contests.

"I went through a little rough patch to start the Fall League off," said Cron, who owns a .133 average through 12 games. "But a lot of it boils down to trust -- knowing that you put the work in and what you do is right and trusting that process, not trying to find a magic formula to get yourself out of a slump. Just keep doing the right thing as many times as you can, and the results will take care of themselves."

Westbrook on time in Fall League

As for Westbrook, the 21-year-old is hitting .357 in the Fall League with seven RBIs. A fifth-round Draft pick in 2013, he hit .262 with five home runs and 36 RBIs this season for Double-A Mobile in the Southern League.

Meanwhile, after playing second base exclusively in each of the last two years, Westbrook is seeing time in the outfield this fall to add to his skill set and increase his defensive versatility..

"I'm just trying to learn the outfield as much as I can to make me valuable to a Major League team," said Westbrook, who started at the keystone Friday. "That's all I really can do."

He'll worry about all of that later, though. For now, Westbrook is enjoying playing with his teammates and, more importantly, winning.

"I'm just having fun. It's a good group of guys. It's a good team," he said. "We're winning so everything kind of takes care of itself after that."

Jonathan Saxon is a graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.