C.J. Cron Doing All He Can To Win Starting Spot

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Updated: March 7, 2017

Before Spring Training started, I declared C.J. Cron a player to watch this Spring, as well as predicting a breakthrough year for the big slugger. So far this Spring, Cron has not disappointed, slashing .368/.429/.579 with a home run, a double, and an OPS of 1.008.

It’s still a very small sample size, but Cron is starting off the Spring exactly how he needed to, and has continued to refine an approach that showed serious development last season in the patience department.

Cron entered this Spring with a lot of pressure; the Angels signed Luis Valbuena and claimed he would play a lot, particularly at first base. This caused the Cron trade rumors to begin, as it appeared he was going to be out of a job.

Cron has a much higher ceiling than Valbuena, but has failed to truly develop his game enough to justify his lofty draft status as a first rounder. Valbuena is also strong in the areas Cron is weak – ability to get on base, speed, and defense – which also just happen to be the areas this Angels’ front office has valued more than any other since GM Billy Eppler took over.

Cron has come out of the gates swinging, however, and brings a serious dose of power, something that is in short supply in Anaheim outside of superstars Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

The Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants have proven in recent history that you don’t need to hit the ball out of the park if you have a lineup with speed, versatility, on-base ability, and contact skills, and if you can play a largely mistake-free game, and that’s obviously the type of roster Eppler has attempted to build.

However, having a player in the middle of your lineup who can hit the ball far is a good thing, especially if that player is able to develop his on-base ability enough so as not to drag down his other talents.

The Angels are a better offense with a healthy, consistent, productive Cron in the middle of the lineup protecting Trout and Pujols, and he’s seizing the opportunity this Spring, as Valbuena has missed four straight games with ‘leg tightness.’ If Cron can prove that the development he showed last year is no fluke and that he’s truly ready to break through, than the Angels will have no choice but to have Cron in the lineup regularly.

Cron will need to continue to boost his walk rates and on-base percentage while cutting his strikeouts, and he’ll have to do it without sacrificing too much power, which is still the most valuable aspect of his game. He’s off to a hot start so far.



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