All of the success Bobby Crocker has had with the Burlington (Iowa) Bees — the Oakland Athletics’ Class A affiliate — can be traced back to his time with the Cal Poly baseball team.
Recently, he has been on a tear at the pro level. After Friday, he had seven hits in his previous 10 games.
“I think I’ve always taken pride in my preparation and (batting) cage work when I play, even when I was at Poly,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m a true believer in what you put in it is what you get out of it.”
The outfielder has been showing why he was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft as he’s hitting .275 with nine doubles, two triples and five home runs in 56 games through Friday’s game.
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He was named the Midwest League Batter of the Week for the week of June 11-17, when he went 9 for 23 (.391) with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI in seven games. He also scored seven runs and walked seven times, which helped him to a .548 on-base percentage.
It’s a nice change of pace for the right-handed Crocker, who said he had “a slow start” to the Midwest League season.
“It’s a grind,” he explained. “You play every day. There’s a lot of opportunities for failure. It’s going to happen. I just look at it as a way to come back. I wasn’t upset at how I was hitting the ball (early in the season). I was hitting the ball hard. Things weren’t going my way. I ended up trying to do too much and that’s how I got in trouble.”
On Friday, he was one of the few bright spots for the Bees (37-40) in their 8-1 loss to the Kane County Cougars. He went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Crocker is getting used to the demands of being a professional ball player, who are conditioned to not have many rest days during the season. He’s going to continue to put in work in the batting cage, something that was important to him at Cal Poly, where he led the Mustangs in 2011, as a junior, with a team-best .339 batting average with 13 doubles, a triple and five homers.
One of Crocker’s expectations is to keep improving his hitting — one batting practice at a time. He’s not focused on getting promoted or demoted within the A’s organization.
“My biggest goal is to live in the present,” he said. “I can’t control who moves up, who moves down, if I move up or if I move down. I know I’m in this for the long haul. I know it’s a long process.”