|Matt Kroon, image- Jay Floyd|
Through 26 games this season in the South Atlantic League, the Phillies' 18th round pick from 2018 sports a .289 average with five doubles, a triple and seven RBI.
Primarily a first baseman, Kroon, the son of former big league pitcher Marc Kroon, has also played second base and third base for the 'Claws.
Kroon was the Phillies' 18th round draft selection last year.
I spoke with Matt about his success at the plate, exposure to professional baseball as a child, his teammates including last year's top pick Alec Bohm and plenty more. Some excerpts from our talk are shared below, but you can check out the complete interview at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz.
-Were there any moments from childhood that stick in your memory that made you fall in love with baseball?
Growing up, I got to watch my dad play. I got to go around in Major League clubhouses. The one I remember the most was the Rockies back in '04. That's when Matt Holliday was a rookie. Todd Helton was there. And I was shy growing up, butt I eventually grew some courage and got to talking with some of the guys in there. Like, "What do you do? How did you get here?" You know, and they told me it's consistency. It's finding your routine, sticking to it. And I remember I took that and then I'd watch Todd Helton hit. Day after day after day, he'd do the same things. Prepare the same way. Same batting practice rounds. Everything like that. So, that's when it started to click to me that I needed to find my own routine and do stuff like that. That's one of the biggest things I've been trying to do in pro ball is get into a routine with what I've found success with and try to grow on that.
-You mention being consistent and you've enjoyed some solid results of late. How are you translating the results on the field?
I mean last year, going in straight from a college season to (the minor leagues), it was a lot on the body, it was a lot on the mind. So, this year I got to get that full off-season in and I came back with a more mentally strong mind. I came back with a prepared body that allowed me to get into certain routines, that allowed me to find that success and keep working on it and finding the little things with my swing and within the way I play defense that will help me bring my game to the next level.
And the coaches here are, day in and day out, are helping you with whatever you need. Whether it's video, tee work, flips. Whatever you need the coaches are there for you and it's just a big help.
-Who do you room with and who are you close with on the team?
My roommate moved up. I was rooming with Alec Bohm.
-What was Alec like? I feel like there were probably guys on the team that wanted that promotion to come for him, so he'd get the hell out of here and so they could get some more at bats.
He's a great guy. From day one when I met him, when we showed up after the draft, he was a really cool dude. Really open and into talking to everybody. Always asks, "Hey, what's going on outside the field? Do you guys want to hang out?" You know, just trying to make sure that he didn't put himself above anybody else. And he didn't. It was really cool getting to room with him, getting to know him. I wish him all the best up there (in Clearwater) and hopefully I get to see him soon. But like you said, somebody moves up, it opens up some opportunities for some other guys to shine.
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