“For those that don’t know, I had been dealing with pain in my left shoulder/arm for the last 2 years but could never seem to find anything wrong with them. That was up until about a month ago when we decided to have my spine checked out and found a large herniated disc at my C5-C6 level.”
Cronin, 25, is on the Nationals’ 40-man roster but has not yet made his Major League debut. He’s been limited to just 14 1/3 innings this season owing to that injury, logging a 5.02 ERA at the Triple-A level in that sample. Despite the pain apparently impacting him last year, he still posted a strong 2.42 ERA with a 26.9% strikeout rate and 10.6% walk rate in 52 innings of relief between the Double-A and Triple-A levels (including 16 1/3 scoreless frames at the former of those two levels).
The Nats haven’t formally announced the surgery or a timetable for Cronin’s return, though he surely won’t be getting back on the mound in 2023. If the Nats need a spot on their 40-man roster in the near future and don’t mind starting up his service clock, Cronin could be called up to the Majors and placed directly on the 60-day injured list as a means of opening that spot. Baseball America ranked Cronin 18th among Nationals farmhands this year, touting excellent carry on the southpaw’s low-to-mid 90s fastball and the potential in his slider and changeup. MLB.com has him 22nd among Washington prospects, calling him a “high-floor bullpen arm” whose secondary offerings should allow him to be effective against righties and lefties alike.