This is more like it, Gavin Cross.
After an uncharacteristically slow start to his full-season debut, MLB’s No. 70 overall prospect was named Minor League Player of the Week in the Midwest League. His performance paced High-A Quad Cities' sweep of Wisconsin and was highlighted by a power surge, as Cross homered in five of six games against the Timber Rattlers -- including going yard in four straight. He entered the week with two dingers on the season, and clubbed a total of eight in 29 games across two levels of the Minors last year.
"I started out a lot slower than I wanted to and just, ever since I was a kid, my swing has been from the ground up, trying to build the foundation from my legs and then work from there," Cross told MLB Tonight's Harold Reynolds. "And the first three or four weeks of the year, my lower half was just a little out of sync."
The 22-year-old finished April batting .169 across 19 games. He showed glimpses of breaking through early on in May, but struggled with consistency. He entered last week slashing .180/.255/.311 on the season. But, a tweak that the Bristol, Tenn., native made during an off day could be the turning point that Cross and the Royals organization have been awaiting.
"It’s never really been a problem for me, so I might have went down the wrong road there a little bit with worrying too much about my hands and things I probably shouldn’t have been worrying about," Cross told Reynolds. "So, on one of our off days I just went back to really what I know and tried to simplify things and get back to my legs, and last week I had a good week and just trying to build on it."
And even when he wasn’t leaving the yard last week, the top Royals prospect was still doing damage. Cross collected nine knocks -- four doubles -- while posting a .375/.500/1.167 slash line with 11 RBIs, six walks and a pair of stolen bases.
"For me, personally, I'm just trying to hit the ball on the barrel and go back and do it again. Like I said, I started out slow and, you know, it’s baseball, it happens," Cross said. "But, just trying to have fun, keep your head up and keep working. ... Take every day and try to build a step forward in my progression and in how I work.
"I’m blessed to be here."
The Virginia Tech product was selected No. 9 overall in last year’s Draft by the Royals and is Kansas City’s only prospect ranked among MLB Pipeline’s Top 100. After signing for full slot at $5,202,900, scouts believe Cross was too advanced for his late-season assignment to Single-A Columbia, where he hit .293/.423/.596 with seven homers in 26 games.